New Meridian ordinance lays out framework for redistricting


The City of Meridian is beginning the process of redrawing electoral districts.

An ordinance was introduced to city council this week that lays out the guidelines for redistricting and how elections will be impacted.

Meridian is making the move due to legislation passed in 2020. Under the law, cities with more than 100,000 people must elect officials by district as opposed to electing officials at-large. In addition, candidates must live in the district they are running in. Meridian surpassed 100,000 residents in the last census.

[Meridian mayor and council draft letter regarding county redistricting]

What’s in the ordinance?

Under the ordinance, city staff will gather voter and precinct data to create district maps. The maps will then be reviewed by a citizen committee, which will consist of residents from north, east, south, and west Meridian.

The ordinance states that in the 2023 election, where council seats 1, 3, and 5, are up for grabs, candidates, including incumbents, must be a resident in the district in which they are running in.

To “preserve staggered terms,” city council members serving in seats 2, 4, and 6, who were elected prior to redistricting, will serve out the remainder of their terms regardless of whether they reside in the district they represent.

In the 2025 general election, all candidates must be residents of the district in which they are running. 

“So, what it’s basically saying is, if you’ve been elected, you get to continue to serve out your term because state law affords that,” city council member Luke Cavener said.

The City of Meridian hopes to complete the redistricting process by August 2022, which is about a year before filing periods. In a blog post, Meridian Mayor Robert Simison says this will give candidates running in 2023 time to prepare for the new rules and boundaries.

“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,” Simison wrote.

Last night’s ordinance reading was the first of three. Next week there will be a public hearing.

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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