by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The bipartisan six-member commission began their work on Sept. 1 and approved the final maps three weeks ahead of the Nov. 30 legal deadline.
“Today is a day of action for the commission,” said co-chair Dan Schmidt. “We have been listening, we have been working, and we have been traveling.”
Schmidt noted that over the last nine weeks, the commission listened to nearly 40 hours of public testimony from 240 people and received about 300 pages of written testimony.
“We went into this knowing that our task could not make everybody happy,” Schmidt said.
After a series of statutorily required procedural votes, the committee voted unanimously to approve the legislative map and 4-2 to approve the congressional map.
Commissioner Nels Mitchell voted against the procedural move to divide existing Ada County voter precincts in the congressional map. Mitchell and Schmidt both voted against plan C03, which divides the state’s most populous county between the two congressional districts.
Much of the public testimony in the Treasure Valley asked the commission to end the decades-long tradition of dividing Ada County between congressional districts.
The Idaho Capital Sun reported this week that the redistricting commission received complaints about the legislative map from the Ada and Canyon county commissions and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
“That was a lot of work. I would like to thank my fellow commissioners,” Schmidt said after the votes. “You guys signed up for this, and I appreciate the work.”
This is likely not the end of the process, however, as redistricting plans are typically met with legal challenges.
The final maps will be in place for the May 2022 primary election, pitting some incumbent lawmakers against each other in the contest to represent the new districts.
The commission meet one final time Nov. 10 to approve its final report. Listen to the Idaho Reports podcast here for more.