|Redistricting Process: Legislative Commission||Population Change (since 2000): 273,629|
|Legislature: Republican||Seats: 2|
|Governor: Clement “Butch” Otter (R)||Members of Congress: 2R|
|Party Control: Republican||2012: 32.6% Obama, 64.5% Romney|
Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
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New Districts by Party Representation
Redistricting Analysis: Idaho Holds Steady With Two Seats
2010 Redistricting Changes:
Idaho’s redistricting is conducting through a Commission on Reapportionment, comprised of six members. The House Speaker, the Senate Pro Tem, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, and the Idaho Democratic Party each appoint one member. Any appointed member may not have been a registered lobbyist within the last year or an elected official, legislative district representative, or state party officer for the past two years. The commissioners may also not serve in a legislative capacity for five years following redistricting. The basis of this requirement that appointees to the commission be non-legislator citizens is a result of an amendment to the Idaho Constitution, passed in the mid-1990s. In 1993, the Idaho Legislature passed SJR 105 that created a constitutional citizen’s body in charge of drawing the districts of Idaho. Subsequently, in 1994, Idaho citizens voted in favor of the amendment to the Idaho Constitution, with 64% in favor and 36% against. Theoretically, by appointing non-legislator citizens to the redistricting commission, redistricting would be less biased in favor of incumbents.
Commission meetings are open to the public and meetings must be held in different portions of the state. Using the program “Maptitude for Redistricting,” the Commission divides the total population of Idaho by 35, the highest number of legislative districts allowed by Idaho law, which dictates how many people each legislative district should contain. The Commission also accepts suggested plans from the public, drawn by Maptitude for Redistricting. Plans must comply with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act dictating that each congressional district has equal population and Idaho state law that congressional boundaries preserve neighborhoods, communities of interest, and voting precinct boundaries. The Commission uses only population data from the U.S. Census to draw district lines rather than protecting political parties or an incumbent. In order for a redistricting plan to be approved, at least four of the six commissioners must vote in favor of its passage. The legislature or governor cannot change the plan after its passage. The plan can only be challenged by filing an action in the Idaho Supreme Court; the Court can then only amend or invalidate the plan once the Commission for Reapportionment approves and the action is filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.
While Idaho did not gain or lose any Congressional seats, the boundary between its two congressional districts needed to be redrawn because first district had a much more rapid growth. The Idaho State Constitution requires that the Commission on Reapportionment draft congressional and state legislative plans within 90 days from the date that the commission is formed. Since commission’s first meeting was on June 7, 2011, draft plans were due by September 6, 2011. However, on September 6, 2011, the commissioners were not able to agree on a legislative and congressional redistricting plan. Subsequently, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and the GOP commissioners filed a lawsuit with the Idaho Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction since no plan had been filed; the GOP commissioners’ suit was dismissed and most of the Secretary of State’s requested relief was denied. The Court, instead, suggested that Ysursa convene a new commission. On September 13, 2011, Ysursa issued an order establishing a Commission for Reapportionment that initiated another 90-day period.
On October 17, 2011, the Redistricting Commission adopted C52 on a 4-2 vote that delineated Idaho’s new congressional districts. C52, voted for by three Republicans and one Democrat, shifted the boundary between Idaho’s east and west, but still preserved the division of Ada County and Boise that had defined the state’s political landscape for 40 years. Democrat Ron Beitelspacher, who joined the three Republicans, did so because he believed the GOP commissioners were not going to change their minds and extending debate any longer would be pointless. While the previous congressional boundary divided Ada County through Boise’s Gary Lane and Cole Road, the new boundary separates eastern from western Idaho in Boise through State Highway 55, the Boise River, Chinden Boulevard, and Cloverdale Road in the south. Opponents to the plan, Shauneen Grange and Elmer Martinez, favored proposals that placed all of Ada County and Boise in the First District, while shifting Canyon County in the Second District. This shift, however, would have shifted 400,000 of Idaho’s 1.5 million people from places such as Twin Falls, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls from the First to the Second On October 18, 2011, the Secretary of State announced that C52 would immediately be put into effect.
Division of Ada County, 2011-Present
Maps Courtesy of www.legislature.idaho.gov/redistricting
Idaho has a total population of 1,567,582, so each congressional district should ideally have a population of 783,791. The First District contains 784,132 people, constituting a deviation of 341 people or 0.4% above the ideal district size. The Second District contains 783,450 people, 0.4% below the ideal district size. Just as the populations of the two districts are roughly similar, their demographic makeup is roughly similar to the demographic breakdown of the entire population.
From 2000 to 2010, Idaho’s largest demographic, its white population, increased from 1,177,304 to 1,396,487, which is an 18.62% increase. Since the white population grew at a lower rate than the overall population growth though, Idaho’s largest demographic decreased its overall share in the population. The white population was 91.0% of the total population in 2000, but it decreased to 89.1% of the total population, a 1.9% decrease. Idaho’s ethnic minorities, on the other hand, experienced significant growth.
In 2000, those who identified themselves as African American, Asian, and “Other” were comprised of 0.4%, 0.9%, and 4.2% of the total population, respectively. In 2010, these proportions increased to 0.66%, 1.2%, and 5.1% of the total population. The most significant of these changes was the African American population that increased from 5,456 to 9,810 people, a 79.8% change, and the Asian population that increased from 11,889 to 19,069 people, a 60.39% change. While the white population in Idaho remains an overwhelming majority, ethnic minorities such as the African American and Asian population are steadily increasing in their overall percentage of the total population.
Congressional District 1 comprises the western and northern portions of the state and is the larger of the two districts. From 2000 to 2010, nearly every county in the First District increased in population, with the exception of Clearwater and Shoshone Counties. The First District is comprised of three of Idaho’s largest counties – Kootenai, Canyon, and Ada – that account for almost two-thirds of the state’s population growth from 2000-2010.
In the past, the state’s congressional district lines have crisscrossed through the city of Boise, splitting the state’s largest city between the two districts. Since the city of Boise is more Democratic than the rest of the state, the First District has an even larger Republican majority than before.
Congressional District 2 contains the majority of the central and eastern parts of the state, including the Magic Valley region of the state. Similar to the population increases in counties of the First District, many Second District counties increased in population, with the exception of Elmore, Bear Lake, Caribou, Minidoka, Butte, and Clark. As a result of redistricting, the Second District will include nearly all of the state’s capital and largest city, Boise. Major cities in the district include Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls, and Rexburg. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a strong presence in the district since 1951. The second district is comprised of 88.01% White, 12.41% Hispanic, 0.77% Black, 1.34% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.38% Asian, and 0.15% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander