by Mayor Simison
Every ten years following the national census, the Idaho Commission on Reapportionment establishes new Congressional and Legislative district boundaries. This public process occurred last fall and into 2022 when the Idaho Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous ruling, upholding the state’s newly established boundaries.
During the process, myself and the Meridian City Council advocated for two legislative districts that encompassed much of our community. By maintaining at least two legislative districts central to Meridian, the interests of Meridian will be better preserved as elected legislators from those districts should focus specifically on Meridian’s interests.
With the new boundaries now in place, candidates for the legislative districts are starting to get active in their campaigns for the May 17 primary election. I encourage you to take time to get to know those who will be running, what they stand for and why they are interested in representing our community in the Idaho Legislature.
As part of redistricting, other elements of our elections are impacted such as polling locations. To minimize crowds and wait times at polling locations, Ada County Elections added 46 new precincts, many in Meridian. Ada County Elections is currently setting polling locations which will take some time. While information will be provided on polling locations in the future, you can view the legislative district and precinct boundaries HERE. In addition, with 46 additional precincts comes the need for more poll workers. Poll workers serve an important role in the voting process. If you have an interest in volunteering as a poll worker, you can find more information HERE.
An important outcome of the census, Commission on Reapportionment, and the establishment of precincts is that it allows Meridian to move forward with our process for creating City Council Districts. Beginning in 2023, Meridian is required to elect our City Council members by district as we surpassed 100,000 people in the last census. During last week’s City Council Meeting, we discussed what this process could look like.
It begins with enacting an ordinance that will come before City Council in March. The current draft ordinance provides for the creation of our own citizen committee who will put together a map comprised of districts. The process to create the map will include at least two public hearings before the citizen committee and ultimately a public hearing before City Council, providing residents opportunities for input throughout this process. My goal is to complete our process by August, 2022 to allow those interested in running in the 2023 election plenty of time to prepare for the requirements of districting.
The Council and I encouraged new legislative districts that would allow Meridian to be represented by those who understand our needs. The same can be said for our City Council districts. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure your voice is heard come elections and I encourage you to be involved in the process; be it volunteering as a poll worker, providing input during a public forum for Meridian’s districting, and most importantly, ensuring you cast your vote for the May primary election!
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