The COVID-related delay in getting U.S. Census figures this year could have big implications for the political careers of sitting Idaho lawmakers, as new legislative districts aren’t likely to be drawn and final until well after the time they could move into a new district before the next election to keep their seats.
“There’s a law that says you have to live in your legislative district for a year prior” to the election, noted Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, as the Legislative Council got its first briefing on the upcoming redistricting process on Tuesday. “If this doesn’t come out ‘til Thanksgiving, we have missed the year deadline. So for example, if you have a legislative district that has seven or eight incumbents, for example, they couldn’t move. They would have to run against each other or not run. Is that correct?”
Elizabeth Bowen, an attorney with the Legislative Services Office, told Horman, “I do believe your interpretation is correct. The way the law reads is whomever has to have been a registered elector in your district for a least a year prior to the election.”
Legislative staffer Keith Bybee added, “It’s Article 3, Section 6 of the Constitution. So emergency legislation at this point is not going to get it done. That’s where we are at this point.”
You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Wednesday's print edition of the Idaho Press. NOTE: There was a ton more that came up at today's Legislative Council meeting today that I've just not had time as yet to post about; I will do so in the coming days, and likely will write about one of them, the one on which Melissa Davlin and I addressed the council, in my Sunday column this week...