Idaho's current legislative districts will “have to be substantially changed” this year, BSU political scientist Gary Moncrief told the redistricting commission this morning, whose job it is to draw those new district lines. That's because the ideal district size, should Idaho stick with 35 legislative districts, is now 44,788. That's about 8,000 more people than the ideal legislative district size 10 years ago. But while some areas have grown substantially in population, others haven't grown much or have even shrunk.
If new districts had a variation in population of up to 10 percent - from 5 percent below ideal to 5 percent above - new districts could have between 42,548 and 47,024 people. But Idaho's current districts, according to the latest census data, now have between 34,066 and 76,940 people - and most of the current districts fall outside the acceptable population range. “We are in a position where the current districts obviously have to be substantially changed,” Moncrief said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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