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Idaho Statehouse Debate Intensifies Over At-Large Vs. District City Council Elections

Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

The debate over whether City Council elections in Boise should be by district instead of at-large is expected to intensify in the coming days at the Idaho Legislature. 

Idaho House Bill 413 would require cities with official populations over 100,000 — Boise is the only city that currently falls into that category — must elect city councilmembers by district. Simply put, that would upend Boise's current city council which is made up entirely by at-large lawmakers. Opponents are crying foul, saying the measure specifically targets Boise; but proponents argue Meridian and Nampa will soon fall into that 100,000+ category.

HB 413 has already passed through the Idaho House and is expected to be the subject of a State Senate hearing in the coming days.

Morning Edition host George Prentice spoke with George Moses, a Boise citizen and former Democratic member of the Idaho Redistricting Commission, about the measure.

“It kind of misses the point of a representative body when everybody represents everybody. If you voted for all the representatives and you’re one of 240,000, your voice isn’t anything as loud as it is if you voted for your representative and you’re one of 40,000.”

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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