Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Research it

| October 19, 2020 12:03 PM

It’s odd to me how people will form an opinion or decide to vote a specific way based on no factual information or by using factual misinformation. It’s especially odd when it’s so easy to simply research it. A few, as of late, have been so bad I refuse to comment on them, but recently, I read an opinion piece about the new amendment to our constitution and how everybody should vote no. This person argued that they would vote no, but proceeded to explain why I should vote yes. I was somewhat confused by it until I realized that the person writing, quite literally, had no clue what they were talking about. I came to this realization once I finally got to the only “factual” piece of evidence in the opinion. It stated that the passage of the amendment would “likely eliminate at least 20% of Idaho counties from any representation in our Legislature.” That is 100% false.

Apparently, some individuals (and the others they have misled) are under the impression that, based on the 20% rule, Idaho currently has 44 legislative districts. I can only assume that this is because there are 44 counties in the state. Well, no, there are not 44 legislative districts. There are currently 35. Since the 1990s, Idaho could have as few as 30 and as many as 35 and state statute determined the amount. To vote no would mean that the state could still reduce the number of districts to 30 if it chose to. That could result in Shoshone County being lumped in with Kootenai. Idaho County, Clearwater County, and parts of Bonner County (the rest of district 7) could face a similar fate. I believe this to be an undesirable outcome.

It was argued that this amendment was discriminatory against rural counties. Based on the current amendment and the new proposed amendment, I cannot draw this conclusion. To vote no would definitely endanger rural Idaho provided the state chose to have only 30 districts. In the end, who knows how the redistricting will look. Historically, as far as I can tell, redistricting has attempted to maintain similar populations across the board.

The only seemingly intelligent opposition argument came from Heather Scott when she said that we are already at 35, why spend $200K to fix it at 35? I am of the opinion we, as rural residents, would be better served with more legislative districts than potentially fewer. I will be voting yes on the constitutional amendment as it is written.