Eye On Boise

Redistricters take one more unanimous vote

Idaho redistricting commissioners wrap up their work on Tuesday morning; from left are Co-Chair Dolores Crow, Randy Hansen, Sheila Olsen, Elmer Martinez, Shauneen Grange (not visible), and Ron Beitelspacher. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho redistricting commissioners wrap up their work on Tuesday morning; from left are Co-Chair Dolores Crow, Randy Hansen, Sheila Olsen, Elmer Martinez, Shauneen Grange (not visible), and Ron Beitelspacher. (Betsy Russell)

When Idaho's redistricting commission adopted its legislative district plan unanimously on Friday, it first had two other unanimous votes - to suspend a state law preventing splitting voting precincts without at least a five-of-six vote, and to suspend another preventing creating districts without connecting roads without a five-of-six votes. This morning, as the commission prepares to submit its final legislative and congressional district plans to Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, it had to take one more similar step.

"We've split some of the precincts in the process of drawing straight lines in Ada County" in the congressional district map," Democratic co-chairman Ron Beitelspacher said. "Because of that, the state statute ... requires that there be a 5-0  vote, and we only had a 4-2 vote. I guess that kinda puts these folks in the driver's seat here," he said, gesturing to Democratic Commissioners Shauneen Grange and Elmer Martinez, who cast the two dissenting votes against the congressional plan.

GOP Co-Chair Dolores Crow said, "I have one more question: This does not do anything to what we've done?" Beitelspacher cracked amid laughter, "Well, it moves Canyon County." Crow, who's recovered from a bad cold from which she was suffering the last few days, cautioned, "You've gotta remember - I feel good today." When the roll was called, all six commissioners voted yes, including Grange and Martinez.

"I should clarify," Beitelspacher said. "There was a lot made of how that vote went yesterday. The aye votes by Commissioner Martinez and Commissioner Grange don't signify approval of this division, but attempt to try to ... make sure this commission works." Crow responded, "The chair would like to say thanks to all three of you for doing what is difficult to do. ... I appreciate that."
 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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