Changes will be coming to Boise City Hall after new city council districts are created. (Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun)
City officials in Boise are encouraging the public to help them draw new city district boundary maps that will help shape elections in the City of Trees for years to come.
This week, the Boise Districting Commission opened up the Maptitude software they will use to draw new city district maps to the public. The software is available on the commission’s website through Oct. 13 under the “Help us draw the map” tab and will allow the public to draw proposed new maps that split the city into six districts.
The Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 413 into law in 2020, which requires cities with a population of more than 100,000 to divide the city into districts that city council members will be elected from. Boise was the first Idaho city to be subject to the requirement, but Meridian and Nampa’s populations also surpassed 100,000, according to the 2020 census.
The redistricting process represents a big change for Idaho’s capital city. Previously, city council members were elected at-large and all of the city’s voters were able to vote in all of the races. Under the new districting law, candidates for city council must be a resident of the district they are running in, and only residents of that district may vote in that race.
For Boise, there will be six districts created, and the commission’s job is to use 2020 census data to draw the districts so they are of as close to the same population as possible and keep election precincts and communities of interest — such as neighborhoods or school boundaries — together as much as possible.
The process will be similar to the 2021 statewide redistricting process that resulted in drawing new legislative and congressional districts across the state.
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The five appointed members of the Boise Districting Commission are Micki Love, Quinn Perry, Kathy Peter, Travis Spiker and Carolina Valderrama Echavarria. The commission will hold a public hearing Oct. 19, where residents will be able to testify and discuss any of the proposed maps, according to a press release from Maria Weeg, the city’s director of community engagement.
The upcoming Boise Districting Commission meeting will also be livestreamed on Boise’s YouTube channel, Weeg said.
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