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Eye On Boise

Software glitch forces break for redistricting commission, but members report progress

Idaho's redistricting commission will take tomorrow off, after a glitch surfaced today with its “Maptitude” computer software. The commission's staff is working with the software company to fix the glitch, but it's not expected to be done until late tomorrow afternoon; the commission will reconvene on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Commissioners, who've been hard at work on possible legislative district lines all day, working in twos and threes, looked like they were ready for a break. “The issues of reapportionment are difficult enough without incorrect math,” said Democratic Co-Chair Ron Beitelspacher. “Two and two should equal four.” Republican Co-Chair Dolores Crow said, “I don't see any point in spending the taxpayer's money when we're not working - so we'll see you on Friday.”

All, however, sounded optimistic about their work. “It's going really well,” said GOP Commissioner Randy Hansen. “These are hard workers, I have to tell you,” said GOP Commissioner Sheila Olsen. The commissioners even worked through lunch today, “literally, eating our sandwiches while we're looking at maps,” she said. Said Democratic Commissioner Elmer Martinez, “I think things are proceeding along well, and we are definitely working together. … I'd say we set the tone early to work together as a full commission.”

So far, the commissioners are working only on legislative district lines; they haven't yet addressed the lines dividing Idaho's two congressional districts. “You do one thing at a time, my dear,” Crow said. “We haven't finished what we're doing now.”

The panel, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, has been getting along “like a family - or better than most families,” Crow said. Said Olsen, “There's a great deal of mutual respect among the commissioners.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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