Congressional and Legislative
Idaho’s Citizen Commission for Reapportionment draws the congressional and state legislative districts. It is a six-member politically appointed commission. The party leaders in the Idaho House and Senate and the state chairman of the two political parties which received the most votes for Governor in the most recent election, each select one Commissioner. The appointers must select their members within 15 days of the order to create the Commission or the Idaho Supreme Court inherits the responsibility. Commissioners cannot be an elected or appointed official in the state at the time of their appointment.
90 days after the Commission’s establishment or the necessary census data is available, whichever comes later, the Commission must send the Secretary of State its proposed apportionment maps. Two-thirds of the Commissioners must approve a map for it to be enacted. The public must have access to any and all deliberations of the Commission, and the Commission must hold meetings in different locations around the state to maximize the chance for public participation.
Challenges to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.
Source: Idaho Const. art. III, § 2. Idaho Code § 72-1505.
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Second Commission’s Original Plans (Original commission failed)
- Adopted = October 14, 2011 (struck down by Idaho Supreme Court)
- Remedial Plans
- Adopted = January 27, 2012
- Litigation History
- In re Constitutionality of Idaho Legislative Reapportionment Plan of 2002 and of 2002 Congressional Reapportionment Plan, No. 31927-2011 (Idaho Sept. 9, 2011): The state’s Reapportionment Commission failed to file a proposed reapportionment plan with the Secretary of State by its deadline, but the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that it could not order the original commission to reconvene or extend its duration since no plan had been adopted. The court held that the Secretary of State could convene a second commission, which was formed on September 13, 2011, and the second commission adopted its congressional plans on October 17, 2011 and its legislative plans on October 14, 2011.
- Consolidated with Frasure v. Idaho Redistricting Comm’n, No. 39128-2011 (Idaho Sept. 9, 2011).
- Twin Falls County v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, 271 P.3d 1202 (Idaho 2012): A county filed a petition challenging the commission’s adopted legislative plans on the grounds it violated the Idaho Constitution. On January 18, 2012, the Idaho Supreme Court struck down the plans on the grounds it divided more counties than necessary in violation of the state constitution and ordered the commission to adopt a new plan.
- Denney v. Ysursa, No. 39570-2012 (Idaho Jan. 25, 2012): The Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party filed a petition seeking the removal and replacement of two commissioners on the second-formed commission following the Twin Falls County decision. On January 25, 2012, the Idaho Supreme Court denied the petition on the grounds the petitioners failed to demonstrate a clear right to the relief they sought.
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Adopted = August 22, 2001
- Filed = August 28, 2011
- Commission’s 1st Remedial Plans
- Adopted = January 18, 2002
- Commission’s 2nd Remedial Plans
- Litigation History
- Smith v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, 38 P.3d 121 (Idaho 2001): Petitioners invoked the Idaho Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to challenge the commission’s adopted legislative plans as unconstitutional for impermissibly dividing counties, separating communities of interest, having too large of population deviations, and failing to follow appropriate procedures. On November 29, 2001, the Idaho Supreme Court struck down the plans on the grounds its had unjustifiably large population deviations in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and ordered the commission to adopt an alternative plan.
- Consolidated with Bingham County v. Idaho Comm’n on Redistricting, No. 27811 (Idaho Nov. 29, 2001).
- Remedial Plans
- Adopted = January 8, 2002
- Bingham County v. Idaho Comm’n for Reapportionment, 55 P.3d 863 (Idaho 2002): After their first plans were struck down, the commission adopted its second legislative plans on January 8, 2002, which petitioners challenged as unconstitutional. On March 1, 2002, the Idaho Supreme Court struck down the commission’s second plans on the grounds they contained unjustifiably large population deviations in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and ordered the commission to adopt new maps.
- Consolidated with Bilyeu v. Idaho Comm’n for Reapportionment, No. 28197 (Idaho Mar. 1, 2002).
- Remedial Plans
- Bonneville County v. Ysursa, 129 P.3d 1213 (Idaho 2005): After the commission adopted its third legislative plans on March 9, 2002, petitioners challenged the new plans as unconstitutional on the grounds it violated the federal one person, one vote requirement and state constitutional and statutory provisions governing the redistricting process. On December 28, 2005, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding the plans to be constitutional.
Ballot Measure Process
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Initiatives are not permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.
There is no single-subject rule.
Initiative Subject Restrictions
There are no initiative subject restrictions.
20 preliminary signatures are required.
The signature requirement for statutory initiatives and veto referendums is 6% of the qualified electors at the time of the last general election in each of at least 18 legislative districts; provided however, the total number of signatures shall be equal to or greater than 6% of the qualified electors of the state at the time of the last general election. At the time of the 2020 General Election in Idaho, there were 1,082,417 qualified electors, so 64,946 signatures are required for initiatives and referendums. Legislative district information can be found here.
Initiative petitions must be submitted to the appropriate County Clerk by May 1 of the year the petition is to be on the ballot. These petitions must be submitted to the Secretary of State four months prior to the election in which the petition is to appear on the ballot (July 8, 2022). Referendums must be submitted no more than 60 days after the end of the legislative session.
The circulation period for initiative petitions is 18 months. No signatures may be collected after the end of April in the year in which the petition is to appear on the ballot (April 30, 2022).
Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the Attorney General and Secretary of State. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.
A fiscal impact statement is not required. Circulators are required to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state. There are no supermajority requirements. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special or odd-year election ballots.
Source: Idaho Const. art. III, §1. Idaho Code § 34-18 (2019). Idaho Secretary of State’s Office Website
In The News
- First GOP Appointee to Redistricting Commission Withdraws, New One Planned..., Idaho Press (7/16/21)
- Idaho Republicans Name Three New Members to Redistricting Committee, Lewiston Tribune (7/16/21)
- Official: Boise Area might Gain 1 Legislative District, AP (1/8/21)
- Idaho Voters OK Amendment Setting 35 Legislative Districts, AP (11/4/20)
- Senate Contest, Both House Races on Idaho Ballot, AP (11/3/20)
- Idaho Constitutional Amendment Would Lock Number of Legislators at 35, The Spokesman-Review (10/4/20)
- More states to use redistricting reforms after 2020 census, AP (3/5/20)
- Voters to decide on Idaho legislative districts freeze, AP (3/4/20)
- Americans continue to vote with their feet towards low-tax states, The Hill (3/3/20)
- Plan to freeze number of Idaho legislative districts gains, AP (2/26/20)
- Amendment would freeze number of Idaho legislative districts, AP (2/6/20)