Important Information for the November Ballot

Our November ballots will include the following question:

Shall Section 2, Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended to require that the Senate shall consist of thirty-five members; and shall Section 4, Article III, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended to require that the Legislature shall be apportioned to thirty-five districts?

When making your decision, here are some points to consider:

Passage of HJR 4 would LIMIT legislative districts (LDs) to thirty-five. With the Idaho population growing, especially in urban areas, will this allow for adequate representation of rural areas with a lesser population?

If the redistricting committee, which is tasked with redrawing legislative district boundaries after the United States’ decennial census, decides on 30-32 LDs, this would mean legislators would possibly end up covering about 60K in population, and larger land areas. It would also reduce the size of our state government and could save taxpayer money spent on legislative salaries and benefits.

But is it better to “lock in” 35 LDs now? Many say, “YES!”

Some argue it will allow time to educate our citizens on the benefits of one state senator for each county, which could be more equal representation for our smaller counties? This solution would mirror our current federal Senate structure and may allow for better balance between urban and rural sectors. However, establishing one state senator per county would require an additional Constitutional amendment as well.

Should we put more effort into changing the number of state senators, or go ahead and amend our Idaho Constitution now?

Another question is whether or not fixing the number districts at 35 will reduce the possibility of litigation? Some people/entities may not be willing to accept a lesser number of LDs and decide to file lawsuits.

Does setting a firm number of LDs truly reduce our flexibility and options? Would a lower number of districts actually dilute the ability of large counties to dominate the state?

For the most part, I believe our Idaho and U.S. Constitutions should be left alone. While I would consider an amendment proposal including the words “at least thirty-five” districts; unfortunately, HJR 4 as presented does not.

As you can see, there are many questions to be considered as we vote HJR 4 this General Election on November 3, 2020. At this point, I am leaning toward a “NO” vote.

The House (65-3) and Senate (31-4) overwhelmingly passed House Joint Resolution 4 in February of 2020. Additional ballot information on HJR 4 may be found at:

One reply on “Important Information for the November Ballot”

At 35 districts, Bonner, Latah, and at least one county south of Idaho County that is normally not split, will be split. If Ada doesn’t form 10 districts, it becomes a feeder county and the Democrats will see Boise targeted. If Ada forms 10 districts, Ada County will have to form those districts with something like a plus or minus 0.2% margin due to the extreme under-populating of these districts. The resulting splitting of Ada County “precincts” will strip redistricting rules. Outside Ada County, there will be an “effective” margin of plus or minus 3% due to the over-populating of these 25 districts; the rest of the state is absorbing just shy of half a legislative district. Because the effective margin is narrowed, two counties south of Idaho County that are normally not split, will be split. It is possible to draw redistricting maps for Idaho with only 8 counties being split, but dropping the amount of legislative districts is required.
In short, Speaker Bedke and other people watching redistricting information withheld crucial data from legislators. For example, there are pre-existing plans for 30-32 legislative districts with the contiguous highway constraint that are more constitutional than any 35 district plan can achieve. Another example is “cities like Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Coeur d’ Alene, and Pocatello, which are legislative districts, are virtually unaffected due to a donut-hole effect.” In short, they are lying when they are saying they wish rural communities keep their representation.
To answer Karey’s questions, setting firm the amount of districts reduces options and flexibility and can be the source of lawsuits. A lower amount of districts would not dilute the ability of large counties (population-wise) to dominate the state.

A person who submitted redistricting maps 10 years ago

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