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Thoughts on Boise City Council districting? City wants feedback

The Boise City Council is working on an ordinance establishing a districting commission.

BOISE, Idaho — As the Boise City Council sets the groundwork for the commission that will draw the district map for city council elections, the council and mayor are asking Boise residents to weigh in.

The city council on Tuesday made some changes to the districting commission ordinance. A final vote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3. The City of Boise is taking written comments until noon on Monday, May 2. The latest draft of the ordinance is linked here.

Idaho Code now requires cities with populations of more than 100,000 – based on the most recent U.S. Census – to establish districts and elect city council members by those districts.

The city council established districts for the 2021 Boise City Council election, when three seats with expiring terms were determined. All six city council seats and the mayor’s office are up for election in 2023, an election for which the Districting Commission will draw new boundaries.

Here's what the city council district map looked like for the 2021 election:

Credit: City of Boise
A map showing districts established for Boise’s City Council election in November 2021.

The five members of the Boise Districting Commission will be responsible for submitting a districting plan to the city council every ten years, following the census, or sooner if population shifts result in a population variance greater than 10 percent in one or more districts.

The districts must be established no later than 120 days prior to the general election, based on information from the most recent U.S. Census. The next election for city offices is Nov. 7, 2023.

Some provisions of the latest draft ordinance include:

  • The five commissioners will be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.
  • Commissioners must be city residents who have lived within the city limits for at least 30 days and are eligible to vote.
  • Commissioners “shall be diverse representatives of the city, including from different geographic areas of the city.”
  • A person who has served on the districting commission will be ineligible to run for a city council seat for five years following that person’s service on the commission.
  • A person who has run for a city council seat in the five years prior to possible appointment to the commission is not eligible to serve on the commission.
  • The commission shall “act independently to make decisions regarding City Council seat districts and City Council seat members, without regard for the residency of elected officials or candidates running for a municipal office of the City.”
  • Once the commission completes a draft districting map, the commission must hold at least one public hearing.
  • The districting plan must be approved by at least three of the commissioners to be forwarded to the city council for a public hearing and consideration.

To send the City Council and Mayor Lauren McLean your thoughts on the Boise Districting Commission ordinance, click here and fill out the form. Again, the deadline is noon Monday, May 2.

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