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Collocation of polling precincts undone

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | September 1, 2021 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Polling precincts previously targeted for a move are now staying place.

The change follows an Aug. 24 vote by Bonner County commissioners to move 13 polling precincts, collocating them with other precincts, saying it would increase efficiency in November’s upcoming election. However, public input prompted Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale to ask commissioners to reverse the decision.

“We got a lot of citizen input saying they wanted us to hit pause on that plan,” Rosedale said, “we’re moving everything back to the way it was a week ago, and everybody’s polling places to those they are familiar with.”

Commissioner Jeff Connolly supported the change, “We’ve had at least one workshop explaining this to the commissioners and what the way forward is. It’s not like it was the first time the commissioners had seen it," he said, "I think it’s a good idea to have a larger discussion, make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Even though the reversal is permanent, changes could take place in the future. The Idaho Legislature has begun the process to redraw legislative district boundaries, meaning some people in Bonner County will have different elected officials representing them.

Currently, the county is within the 1st and 7th legislative districts. The 1st legislative district begins after crossing the Long Bridge on U.S. 95 going north, and is shared with Boundary County. The 7th legislative district goes south from the long bridge along U.S. 95 and follows a portion of the southern county line until going beyond Bonner County to include Shoshone, Clearwater, and Idaho counties. The last time redistricting took place was nine years ago in 2012. A board of three Democrats and three Republicans have been assembled to redraw district lines, and will utilize 2020 Census data in the process.

In addition to some residents of Bonner County getting new state representatives, they may also get new county representatives.

“We may re-evaluate this when we have the census data taken into consideration for redistricting District 7, District 1,” said Rosedale during Tuesday’s meeting. “We are going to find out if we’re going to redivide the commission districts.”

Redistricting occurs to balance power between elected officials. At all levels of government, representatives are supposed to be elected by, and answer to, equal numbers of people as their fellow representatives at the same level. To look at the Idaho Legislature’s district map, do a web search ‘Idaho legislative district map.’

A three-day reapportionment meeting about legislative districts will span from Sept. 1-3 in Boise. Meetings begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 1, and at 9 a.m. on the other days. To view the meetings, go to www.idahoptv.org/shows/idahoinsession/