Every ten years following the census, officials are required to redraw our legislative and congressional boundaries to make sure each district has roughly the same amount of people in it so one district doesn’t have more influence than the others. For years, the party in power was able to control this process and used it to draw boundaries to secure their reelection and punish political opponents at the expense of fair representation of citizens through a practice known as gerrymandering. This often led to costly lawsuits and unfair representation.
In 1994, the Idaho legislature established the Independent Redistricting Commission, which is charged with drawing our political boundaries every ten years. The commission is made up of three members of the majority party and three members from the minority party. Any boundary created must be approved by a majority of the commission, requiring bipartisan agreement. The commission’s decisions must be in accordance with rules that prevent them from giving their party or incumbents an undue advantage. These rules ensure the redistricting process isn’t controlled by gerrymandering. It is a system that has worked for decades, reduced the number of costly lawsuits, and is considered a model for other states to follow.
Why It’s Under Attack
The politicians in charge want to solidify their power by being able to pick their voters instead of voters picking their politicians. During the last legislative session, lawmakers introduced a bill that would add a seventh member of the commission appointed by the majority party, effectively eliminating the need for bipartisan consensus and opening the process up to abuse. This would return Idaho to the days of partisan redistricting, opening up the process to costly legal challenges at the taxpayers’ expense.
Every Idahoan has the right to fair representation without the fear that politicians in charge/the establishment will manipulate maps for political gain. Take action today to let your legislator know that you support fair representation.