Congressional and Legislative Maps Approved
America’s founding fathers worried that minority parties and people could fall victim to the tyranny of the majority. The act of redistricting lays the groundwork for how, and who, citizens are able to elect individuals to represent them in government. If the process itself is tipped in favor of one party over another, the ability of the majority to forever dominate is set. That is why it is so important for Idaho to retain an evenhanded bipartisan Redistricting Commission that designated voting districts based solely on the “one man-one vote” basis, not on political whim. However, in Idaho, the GOP has had no problem exerting its control over every aspect of governance, without regard to Idaho Constitutional mandate, or the concerns of our founding fathers.
After heated debates, the first 2011 Idaho Redistricting Commission exceeded its 90 day appointment without any approved maps. At the 2011 Winter Republican State Central Committee Meeting, frustrated by their inability to dominate the redistricting process, Idaho GOP leadership passed a resolution to do away with the evenly bipartisan Redistricting Commission, voting to replace it with a seven member commission dominated by the Republican Party, with the “seated members of the commission assigned to reflect the will of the people as evidenced by the political make up of the legislative body. The total number of legislative seats (105) shall be divided by 7 seats. One seat shall be assigned for every 15 seats held by a political party.” http://www.bonnevillerepublicans.org/uploads/2012_Idaho_GOP_Winter_Meeting_Resolutions.pdf
A second Redistricting Commission was appointed and approved both Congressional and Legislative maps. The Legislative Map was challenged in court. When the second Redistricting Commission was ordered by the courts to reconvene, two Republican members, Dolores Crow and Randy Hansen were challenged by Idaho GOP Speaker Lawrence Denney and GOP Chair Norm Semanko. Denney and Semanko tried unsuccessfully to fire Crow and Hansen for not being partisan enough, taking their case to the courts. The Idaho Supreme Court stepped in again refusing to hear Denney’s and Semanko’s demand to dismiss their commissioners.
After meeting for two days, the Redistricting Commission, with all six members present, unanimously approved L93 http://legislature.idaho.gov/redistricting/PlanHtml/L93.pdf. At this point, the Ada County Elections Department can now proceed with redrawing precinct lines and locating polling locations in time for the May primary. While the bipartisan process that upholds “one man-one vote” prevailed, we must be certain that the Idaho GOP is unable to upend the redistricting process at the expense of the minority.