City of Boise outlines city council districts: which seat will you vote on?

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We now know what the newly-districted version of Boise City Council will look like.

On Thursday, the City of Boise released the map that will split the city into six electoral districts going forward after 2020 state legislation required cities over 100,000 in population to stop electing city council at large.

The map was drawn by a law firm specializing in the creation of political districts with equal numbers of voters in a compact shape. City Council will vote on it at its regular Tuesday meeting.

“The goal of the map is, to the extent possible, to create districts that are equal in population, geographically contiguous and avoid splitting up our recognized neighborhood associations by following recognized districting principles,” Council President Elaine Clegg said in a press release. 

“We are confident that we have proposed carefully considered balanced districts, but we are greatly disappointed that, due to the severely shortened timeframe, we were not able to engage residents in the process. We look forward to a robust public process with new census numbers going into the 2023 election cycle.”

Boise council districts
The City of Boise’s map for the establishment of council districts for the city. Courtesy City of Boise

Which seats are up?

This year, seats 1, 3, and 5 will be up for election for two-year terms. This includes the districts with the northwest section of West Boise, the North End, Highlands, and Northwest Boise, and another district encompassing the Central Bench, downtown Boise along with the East Ends.

The map will be redrawn in 2022 using the 2020 census data in preparation for the 2023 election. All six candidates will be up for reelection for two-year terms with that new map. The even-numbered districts will be elected to two-year terms in 2023 to transition the council back to a staggered schedule of three of the seats being elected to four year terms every two years.

After the legislature passed a bill requiring the districts in 2020, the City of Boise worked with Senator Chuck Winder, R-Boise, to work on another bill in the 2021 session that created a set process for the lines to be drawn and addressed the transition from at-large to districted elections. The bill died in the waning days of the session when the Idaho House added an amendment seeking to change municipal elections to even years, instead of odd ones like they are now.

So far, only City Council President Pro Tem Lisa Sanchez has filed to run in Boise. She lives in District 3 and will be permitted to run for reelection.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had incomplete information about the length of the terms for city council members and the election process in 2023. It has been corrected to reflect that candidates will run for two-year terms in 2021 and all six candidates will run in 2023.

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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