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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

Idaho uses an independent commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts.  Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) each select one commissioner, and the chairs of the two largest political parties each select one commissioner, with an eye to geographic diversity.

On November 10, 2021 the Commission for Reapportionment approved its final report creating new congressional and state legislative maps. The new districting plans became effective on Nov. 12 upon their formal submission to the Secretary of State.

In the 2010 cycle, the independent commission missed a Sept. 6, 2011 deadline to draw maps, and a new commission was created on Sept. 13, 2011.  It issued a congressional plan on Oct. 17, 2011; it also issued a state legislative plan on Nov. 14, 2011, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court on Jan. 18, 2012, on the grounds that it paid insufficient attention to county boundaries.  The new commission was reconvened to redraw lines, and unanimously approved a new state legislative plan on Jan. 27, 2012.

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Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
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The Latest Updates

Nov 18, 2021
Ada County petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court challenging the state legislative redistricting plan. The county alleges the plan violates Art. III § 5 of the state constitution for dividing counties.
Nov 12, 2021
Idaho's new congressional and state legislative maps were formally submitted to the Secretary of State and thus are effective immediately.
Nov 12, 2021
A former state legislator filed a lawsuit challenging the state's new legislative districts in the Idaho supreme court, alleging state's new districts split too many counties in violation of Art. III § 5 of the state constitution.
Nov 10, 2021
Idaho's Commission for Reapportionment adopted the final report creating new congressional and new legislative maps for the state. The final plan will now be sent to Idaho's Secretary of State for implementation.
Nov 9, 2021
On Nov. 10th the Idaho Commission for Reapportionment will re-vote on new legislative maps and congressional maps to ensure they did not violate state law when they first voted on Nov. 5th.
Nov 5, 2021
Idaho's Commission for Reapportionment approved final congressional and legislative redistricting maps. The commission must hold a final vote on the redistricting plans by Nov. 10.
Nov 4, 2021
The Idaho Commission on Reapportionment will vote on new redistricting maps on Nov. 5th. The planned Nov. 10th vote was rescheduled after a commissioner tested positive for COVID.
Oct 29, 2021
The Idaho Commission on Reapportionment released a new legislative map proposal. The commission meets again on Nov. 3rd and hopes to have final proposals by Nov. 10th.
Oct 14, 2021
The Idaho Commission on Reapportionment will reconvene on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. The commission missed a self-imposed Oct. 13th goal date but still has until Nov. 30th to finalize plans.
Sep 10, 2021
The Idaho Commission for Reapportionment released the first proposed legislative map for the 2021 redistricting cycle.
Sep 10, 2021
The Idaho Commission for Reapportionment released two proposed congressional plans (C01 and C02) for the states two congressional districts.
Sep 2, 2021
The Idaho  Commission for Reapportionment announced public meeting schedule beginning the week of Sept. 13. The public can submit written testimony or register to give remote testimony.
Aug 18, 2021
Idaho's Citizen Commission for Reapportionment has scheduled its first three meetings. The meetings will be held on Sept. 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Jul 30, 2021
Idaho Republican House Speaker appoints the sixth and final member to the Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment.
Jul 28, 2021
The Idaho Democratic party leadership has selected three appointees for the six-person Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment.
Jul 16, 2021
A Republican party appointee to the Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment, John Simpson, has withdrawn from consideration due to past lobbyist work.
Jul 15, 2021
The Idaho Republican party leadership has appointed three commissioners to the Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment.

Institution

Idaho’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by a six-member independent commission, created in 1994.

Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) each select one commissioner, and the chairs of the two largest political parties each select one commissioner, with an eye to geographic diversity. The state constitution provides that no commissioner may be an elected or appointed official in Idaho when appointed to the commission. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 2(2)] State law further prohibits those who have been registered lobbyists within the last year — or elected officials or district, county, or state party officers within the last two years — from serving as a commissioner. [Idaho Code § 72-1502] These latter limitations may be altered by the state legislature.

Members of the commission will be listed here.

The Idaho Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear legal challenges in state court to redistricting plans. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 2(5)]

Timing

The Idaho state constitution requires that the commission produce draft congressional and state legislative plans within 90 days from the date that the commission is formed.  There is no similar deadline for final plans, though candidates must file for congressional and state primary elections by Mar. 11, 2022. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 2(4)Idaho Code § 34-704]

Idaho law ties the drawing of congressional and state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 2(2)Idaho Code § 72-1501]

Public input

Commission proceedings are open to the public and subject to the state’s Open Meetings Act; redistricting data and plans submitted by the public are all available to the public at large. The commission must hold meetings in different portions of the state. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 2(4)Idaho Code § 72-1505]

The schedule of hearings will be here.

Criteria

Like all states, Idaho must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and must abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

The Idaho constitution and state law require that state legislative districts be contiguous. [Idaho Const. art. III, § 5; Idaho Code § 72-1506] State law also requires congressional districts to be contiguous and, for both congressional and state legislative districts, state law requires the preservation of counties to the extent possible, which the state Supreme Court has interpreted to require strictly minimizing the number of counties divided by district lines.  State law also requires that districts preserve traditional neighborhoods, communities of interest, and (if possible) voting precinct boundaries; and that districts not be oddly shaped. If a district contains more than one county or portion of a county, those constituent pieces must also be connected by a state or federal highway. [Idaho Code § 72-1506; Twin Falls Cnty. v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, 271 P.3d 1202 (Idaho 2012)]

Population data is the only data that the commission may use to draw district lines. Furthermore, county lines may not be divided in order to protect a political party or incumbent. [Idaho Code § 72-1506]

2010 cycle

Idaho’s independent commission missed a Sept. 6, 2011 deadline to draw maps; a new commission was created on Sept. 13, 2011.  [In re Constitutionality of Idaho Legislative Reapportionment Plan of 2002, No. 39127-2011 (Idaho Sept. 9, 2011)]

On Oct. 17, 2011, that new commission issued a congressional plan.

On Oct. 14, 2011, the new commission issued a state legislative plan, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court on Jan. 18, 2012, on the grounds that it paid insufficient attention to county boundaries.  The new commission was reconvened to redraw lines; partisan officials sued to force the removal of two commissioners, but the state Supreme Court affirmed the Secretary of State’s refusal to replace those sitting commissioners.  On Jan. 27, 2012, the commission unanimously approved a new state legislative plan.  [Denney v. Ysursa, No. 39570-2012 (Idaho Jan. 25, 2012); Twin Falls Cnty. v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, 271 P.3d 1202 (Idaho 2012)]

2000 cycle

Idaho’s commission adopted congressional and state legislative plans on Aug. 28, 2001.  The state legislative plan was struck down on Nov. 29, 2001, by the state Supreme Court on equal population grounds. The commission passed a second state legislative plan on Jan. 18, 2002, which was also struck down by the state Supreme Court, on Mar. 1, 2002, on equal population grounds. The commission then passed a third and final map, on Mar. 9, 2002, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court. [Bonneville County v. Ysursa, 129 P.3d 1213 (Idaho 2005); Bingham County v. Idaho Comm’n for Reapportionment, 55 P.3d 863 (Idaho 2002); Smith v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, 38 P.3d 121 (Idaho 2001)]

Redistricting Cases in Idaho

Search all Idaho Cases >

Idaho | State Supreme | State Upper | State Lower
Durst v. Denney
PENDING - State court challenge to state legislative districts, alleging the Commission split too many counties in violation of state constitution.
Last Updated Nov 23, 2021
Case Number

No. 49261-2021 (Id. Sup. Ct.)

Cycle 2020
Idaho | State Supreme | State Upper | State Lower
Ada County v. Denney
PENDING - State court challenge to state legislative districts, alleging the Commission split too many counties in violation of state constitution.
Last Updated Nov 23, 2021
Case Number

No. 49267-2021 (Id. Sup. Ct.)

Cycle 2020