Redistricting Policies and Procedures (2001)
As Adopted by the Commission
Section 72-1506, Idaho Code. CRITERIA GOVERNING PLANS. Congressional and legislative redistricting plans considered by the commission, and plans adopted by the commission, shall be governed by the following criteria:
- The total state population as reported by the U.S. census bureau, and the population of subunits determined there from, shall be exclusive permissible data.
- To the maximum extent possible, districts shall preserve traditional neighborhoods and local communities of interest.
- Districts shall be substantially equal in population and should seek to comply with all applicable federal standards and statutes.
- To the maximum extent possible, the plan should avoid drawing districts that are oddly shaped.
- Division of counties should be avoided whenever possible. Counties should be divided into districts not wholly contained within that county only to the extent reasonably necessary to meet the requirements of the equal population principle. In the event that a county must be divided, the number of such divisions, per county, should be kept to a minimum.
- To the extent that counties must be divided to create districts, such districts shall be composed of contiguous counties.
- District boundaries should retain, as far as practicable, the local voting precinct boundary lines to the extent those lines comply with the provisions of section 34-306, Idaho Code.
- Counties shall not be divided to protect a particular political party or a particular incumbent.
On June 6, 2001 the Commission on Redistricting adopted the following Policies and Procedures to supplement Idaho Code:
- The precinct is the basic building block of a legislative district in order to minimize voter confusion and cost of election administration. Proposed legislative districts that attempt to split precincts should be kept to a minimum. Where it is problematic to use precinct boundary lines, district lines should follow census geography.
- The legislative districts must be numbered in a regular series, beginning with district one in the northernmost part of the state and proceeding south through the Panhandle then across the state generally from west to east. The congressional district that encompasses the Idaho Panhandle shall be numbered congressional district one.
- The Commission staff will establish and maintain a meeting notice and contact list. Any individual or group wishing to receive notice of Commission meetings will be included in the list and shall receive meeting notice free of charge.
- Commission staff will audiotape all Commission meetings. Summary minutes of all meetings will be kept and maintained as part of the public record. Copies of the minutes should be made available in a timely manner at a reasonable cost to cover the expense of copying from the Commission on Redistricting.
- Individuals and groups speaking before the Commission are requested to, if possible, supply a written copy of their testimony.
- When speaking to the Commission, an individual may address any area pertinent to the redistricting process. The Commission would like to hear testimony regarding local community interests including demographics, economics, geography, population trends and political and historical factors.
- Once a plan has been submitted to the Commission, it shall be subject to the Public Records law.
- The Redistricting Commission will comply fully with all applicable laws and rules that provide public access to the Commission’s meetings, documents, and records. All databases on any medium created at public expense or held by the Commission or by a contractor or consultant to the Commission for use in the redistricting process are included as public records.
- Copies of the Census Bureau’s PL 94-171 population, race and ethnicity data, the TIGER/Line-based maps and other data sets used by the Commission on Redistricting will be made available to the public via CD-ROM at the cost of reproduction or on the Internet at INSIDE Idaho.
- A single set of county precinct maps and precinct level summary population data and a statewide work map will be made available to any individual member of the public through the Redistricting Commission at cost.
- An individual citizen or organization may submit a redistricting plan to the office of the Commission. Any such plans must be accompanied with the current contact information (name, address, telephone number) for the individual or group making the submission. All drafts of and amendments or revisions to plans presented at any public hearing or Commission meeting should be on clearly depicted maps which follow census geographic boundaries and should be accompanied by a statistical sheet listing the census geography including the total population and the minority population for each proposed district.
- Commission staff will contact each individual or group having submitted a proposal to verify authenticity. The Commission will not accept plans that cannot be verified in this manner.
- All plans submitted to the Redistricting Commission will be made part of the public record. A redistricting plan placed before the Commission for consideration must be offered by a member of the Commission.
- The Commission has selected the publicly available, GIS-based redistricting software application autoBound for Redistricting (Digital Engineering Corporation, Columbia, Maryland). All GIS-based redistricting plans that are submitted to the Commission in electronic format must be able to be imported into autoBound. Those that are not autoBound compatible will be accepted in hard copy format.
- In submitting proposed redistricting plans, the Commission expects that redistricting plans will meet the minimum standards established in the guidelines adopted by the Commission.
- The Commission will permit the proposal of partial plans, though the Commission will consider the statewide impact of the partial plan in considering feasibility
- The Commission on Redistricting will make plans and its official policies available for public inspection. Copies will be available at cost.
- Commission staff will be available to all commissioners requesting assistance in drafting legislative and congressional district plans. Staff may assist others in drafting plans only at the direction of a member of the commission.