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Eye On Boise

Tue., June 7, 2011, 6:22 p.m.

Plea to redistricters: Use roads as boundaries

Among those testifying tonight at the first public hearing on redistricting is Phil McGrane, chief deputy to Ada County Clerk Chris Rich. He pleaded with the panel to use roads as boundaries, rather than things that can move over the course of 10 years, like irrigation canals or even city boundaries, which change when cities annex or de-annex. "We've had in the past to actually visit homes to figure out where master bedrooms were, to figure out where somebody voted," McGrane told the panel. "It creates tremendous voter confusion and frustration." District lines in the past have cut through subdivisions, sometimes making residents of three homes in a subdivision vote in a different district than all their neighbors - or even worse, slicing right through homes.

"We've seen tremendous change over the course of 10 years," McGrane told the commissioners. The problem has come when districts were drawn based on section lines or irrigation canals, and then later, the land was developed into subdivisions. "Using major streets to the best extent possible ... is much more reliable, and it will last long into the future," he said.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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