Tonight's breakdown in redistricting commission negotiations was rather stunning, after a day of what had appeared to be strong progress, as the evenly split bipartisan commission focused on resolving regional disagreements in various parts of the state on how to draw new legislative district lines. Boise State University political scientist emeritus Jim Weatherby, who watched today's proceedings, said afterward, “It's not clear what progress they were making at all. This ends on a very sour note.”
The commissioners have only until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to agree on legislative and congressional district plans; if they don't meet their deadline, Idaho will have districts whose populations are so far out-of-whack that they clearly violate the U.S. Constitution's one-person, one-vote requirement, and the Idaho Supreme Court likely would be asked to step in. The commission wouldn't be off the hook; the court, in that case, most likely would order the commission back to work.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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