Redistricting small NOT FOR PRINT

Idaho redistricting commissioners, from left, Nels Mitchell, Bart Davis and Eric Redman meet at the Idaho state Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 10. 2021; commissioners Dan Schmidt,  Amber Pence and Tom Dayley participated remotely via Zoom.

Idaho’s citizen redistricting commission adopted its final report today on a unanimous, 6-0 vote, setting the stage for any potential legal challenges to the state’s new legislative and congressional district plans.

The new legislative district map in particular is drawing lots of scrutiny, as it reflects population shifts that have moved some incumbent lawmakers into the same districts. That means they’ll either have to face off in an election or retire. It also changes which communities and counties are combined together in legislative districts, from the current, decade-old district map.

“We have tried hard to be Idahoans in this process, not Republicans and Democrats,” said commission Co-Chair Bart Davis. “I believe that we have tried to be congruent with the intent behind the policy that Idahoans chose to have in the redistricting process.”

The commission also voted unanimously today to adopt the new plan to divide Idaho into 35 legislative districts; and voted 4-2 in favor of a new congressional district plan that runs the dividing line between Idaho’s two congressional districts through western Ada County. Those were the same votes the commission made a week earlier, with two Democratic commissioners dissenting on the congressional district plan; the votes were re-taken as a precaution after a technical question was raised about last week’s meeting notice.

Commissioner Nels Mitchell, who along with Co-Chair Dan Schmidt voted against the congressional plan but in favor of the legislative plan and the final report, told his fellow commissioners, “It’s really been a pleasure and an honor to have this opportunity to work with you, and I’m very proud of our work product and the work that we’ve accomplished over the last two months.”

I’ll have a full story on this later today.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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