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Eye On Boise

Mon., Oct. 17, 2011, 8:53 a.m.

Redistricters eye congressional district lines that don’t divide Ada County

Five of Idaho's six redistricting commissioners, working last Friday on possible congressional district lines, "homed in on a couple of plans," commission Co-Chair Ron Beitelspacher said this morning, "one was the one that had no county divisions, and the other was the one that had a county division in Elmore County."

Commission Co-Chair Dolores Crow has a bad cold and went home early on Friday; but all are back and participating now. "Would you care to look at the plan that the previous commission did?" Beitelspacher asked, and the group decided to do so. That plan, C-38, has zero population deviation and divides Ada County.

The commissioners asked Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane to discuss legal considerations; he said getting as close as possible to zero population deviation between the two districts is the "most defensible ... especially if you can do it without dividing any counties." Beitelspacher said the plan commissioners reviewed earlier with no county divisions had a population deviation of 0.42 percent.

Commissioner Shauneen Grange said on Friday, she looked at how the line between Idaho's first and second congressional districts long has divided Ada County. "I was curious to see if we can keep counties whole," she said. Commissioner Randy Hansen commented, "It completely changes the dynamics of these two districts. ... That's a concern that I have."

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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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