by Mayor Simison

The Idaho Commission for Reapportionment established new Congressional and Legislative districts this year. With those boundaries in place, candidates for the November 2022 legislative districts have been actively campaigning for the May 17 primary election. New for Meridian, we have two legislative districts central to Meridian - Districts 20 and 21; along with a portion of Districts 14 to the north, 15 to the east and 22 in the south. I encourage you to take time to get to know those running, what they stand for and why they are interested in representing our community in the Idaho Legislature.

Like past elections, City Hall is an early voting location beginning Monday, May 2 through Friday, May 13. During this period, voters can cast their ballot by coming to City Hall between 8am and 5pm on weekdays, regardless of where they live in the county. Voting is as fundamental as any other liberty afforded to people under the Constitution. As an American citizen and Meridian resident, your vote is your voice. This is your opportunity to let your thoughts be known about important issues to the community and your way to hold elected officials accountable for decisions made. One critical element to understand through this year’s redistricting effort is that your precinct and voting location may have changed. This is part of the redistricting process and helps reset the number of people who will vote in any one location on Election Day. If you plan to vote in person on Election Day, make sure you locate your polling place and whether its new before you go and vote. For complete election information and forms, visit www.idahovotes.gov where you can see a sample ballot, locate your polling location and find answers to questions you may have about voting and the election process. If voting in-person is a challenge, you can request an absentee ballot and one will be sent to you. If you are a traditionalist like me, you can always head to the polls on Tuesday, May 17.

Looking beyond this year’s primary and general elections, we are also working through the process as a City to formalize new City Council districts for the future 2023 City Council election. This began with City Council adopting a new City Ordinance No. 22-1972. This ordinance establishes the process that the City will undertake to map out six new City Council districts in the City of Meridian. Through the spring and into this summer, a new Meridian Districting Committee will be established. They will be charged with developing a map of proposed districts, and as part of their process, they will also hold at least two public hearings to ensure residents can give feedback on the proposed map before it goes to City Council for a public hearing. Our goal is to complete this process by this August, allowing time to inform the community about these changes and giving those interested in serving plenty of time to consider running for office under the new system.

Ultimately, elections are important and my goal is to ensure the community is knowledgeable about your opportunities to have your voice heard on Election Day. Whether it is volunteering at your polling place, going out and voting, or participating in the public process of forming City Council districts, I encourage you to be involved in the process. We want to continue the legacy of Meridian being a premier community and it starts with engaged residents and your vote. Let your voice be heard this election.