On Nov. 12, 2021, the Idaho Independent Redistricting Commission formally submitted its final congressional and state legislative maps to the secretary of state, enacting new maps for the state’s two U.S. House districts and 35 legislative districts.
The commission voted in favor of the final versions of both the congressional and state legislative maps on Nov. 5 but chose to recast their votes on Nov. 10 due to concerns regarding Idaho’s open meetings laws.
The six commissioners—three appointed by Democrats and three by Republicans—voted 4-2 in favor of the final congressional map. Nels Mitchell and Dan Schmidt, both Democratic appointees, voted against the map, saying they opposed its division of Ada County, the state’s most populous, into two districts. Ada County was split between two districts following the 2010 census.
Mitchell said, “there is a statute on the books that says we’re not supposed to split counties if we don’t have to, and I don’t believe we had to.” Commissioner Bart Davis, who supported the map, said, “there were honest disagreements on the congressional plan … and that’s the reason we have a commission of six, is to allow us to think about it and challenge each other’s thinking.”
The commission voted 6-0 in favor of the new state legislative district maps. Idaho has 35 legislative districts, which each elects one senator and two representatives.
House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) said, “The Idaho House Republican Caucus is not entirely thrilled with the new reapportionment of Idaho’s legislative map,” adding that, “highly qualified and established legislators may be forced to campaign against equally skilled former colleagues.”
Idaho Ed News’ Kevin Richert estimated that the new legislative maps could result in six House races and five Senate races where incumbents would face re-election against one another.
Commissioner Schmidt said, “We’ve tried to do our best to balance the interests and the needs of the communities we are working with and the law that is before us,” adding, “We went into this process knowing that our task could not make everybody happy, and we don’t expect it will.”
As of Nov. 12, 2021, 12 states had enacted congressional maps following the 2020 census and 17 had completed state legislative redistricting. At that time in 2011, following the 2010 census, 26 states had finished congressional redistricting and 29 had finished state legislative redistricting.