The Bannock County Elections Office is unveiling the new precinct maps ahead of the May Primary Election.
The new boundaries will determine which districts voters and candidates live in. The new boundaries will be in effect for the May 17 Primary Election and will remain until after the next Census in 2030.
Some Bannock County voters may find they’ve become part of a new legislative district or have a new precinct. Others may have no changes at all.
To make sure everyone is informed of the changes, the state requires county election offices to notify voters whose precincts have been altered. Bannock County is taking that a step further.
“We’ve decided to send out a mailer to every registered voter to make sure they understand what’s happened, even if their precinct hasn’t changed at all,” said Bannock County Clerk Jason Dixon.
Informational flyers will be mailed during the month of March. In the interim, voters can check the updated maps on the Bannock County Elections webpage, which are now available to view. The interactive Polling Places map will be updated in the coming weeks, so it will be ready for users in time for the May 17 Primary Election.
“This has been a great team effort,” said Commissioner Terrel Tovey. “Bannock County Elections Manager Julie Hancock, Clerk Jason Dixon, and our staff at the GIS department have worked hard to get it done in such a short amount of time. I’m very pleased with how this has turned out.”
What changes can be expected?
Most changes to Bannock County’s voting maps are minor housekeeping matters. However, there is one major change: the addition of a third legislative district–District 35–to represent parts of central and southeast Bannock County. Previously, Bannock County residents were represented by just Legislative Districts 28 and 29.
Currently, Reps. Randy Armstrong and Kevin Andrus represent Legislative District 28, but with the changes, they will both move to District 35. They will be able to finish the remainder of their terms as representatives for District 28, but will have to file for candidacy in District 35 if they choose to run again.
Why do we redistrict?
Every 10 years, after the Census is completed, states and counties redraw district and precinct lines to ensure political representation is as close to equal as possible. The practice is required by both the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions in order to fulfill the notion of “one person, one vote.”
“We’ve had some explosive growth in certain areas of our county and we had to make sure we’re not [overcrowding] one precinct to the point where it disenfranchises voters who can’t get in to vote in a timely manner,” Commissioner Tovey said.
Who’s responsible for what?
The Idaho Commission for Reapportionment, an independent and bipartisan committee, was responsible for drawing the two congressional and 35 legislative district lines using data from the 2020 Census. These maps were upheld by the Idaho Supreme Court, after legal challenges were either settled or dismissed.
County election offices are responsible for ensuring the new legislative districts do not divide voting precincts. For the past two weeks, the elections staff has been spot-checking the maps on a house-to-house basis to ensure each registered voter’s taxing districts, precincts, and legislative districts are accurate.
“It’s a huge, huge undertaking. There’s a lot of pressure—as there should be—for accuracy,” Clerk Dixon said.
With the maps finalized and approved, the Bannock County Elections Office will begin preparing for the Primary Election on May 17.