Commissioners to vote on precincts - Coeur d'Alene Press: Political

Commissioners to vote on precincts

Decision will not take effect in time for March school levy elections

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Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 12:15 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The Kootenai County commissioners today will yet again establish a new map of county voter precincts, to accommodate the newly revised legislative district map.

Kind of.

The three elected officials will actually vote on a new map they won't officially adopt until after the March 13 school levy election.

An issue that has required some extra discussion, adopting the new map now wouldn't leave enough time for the Elections Department to update precinct information in time for the March election.

"We have the perfect storm with redistricting and the school board elections," said Commissioner Dan Green. "This is just trying to provide certainty for people so we can be prepared for the May primary, too."

The commissioners establishing their intent to adopt the new map will at least give primary candidates filing this month an idea of the precincts they're in, Green explained.

Candidates for precinct committeemen in particular will appreciate an update on the boundary lines they'll be filing to represent, he said.

"We're giving direction," Green said. "We've got a resolution proposed that I hope is going to give clarity, so there are no misunderstandings."

This is the county's second new precinct map in as many months.

The map adopted last month to accommodate last year's legislative redistricting was scrapped when the Idaho Supreme Court found the redistricting unconstitutional. The new precinct boundaries were drawn to fit into the revised legislative district map.

The new precinct map is nearly identical to the one adopted last month, said Clerk Cliff Hayes.

There will again be 70 precincts, with only 25 houses changing precincts.

"The way it turned out, by luck, with the legislative districts and the polling precincts that we had selected, there was very minor changes," Hayes said. "I think there were only three or four precincts that had to be adjusted."

The precinct with the lowest population contains about 800, Hayes said, and the highest 2,100. The county's 71 precincts before this year's changes ranged from 210 to 2,847 in populations.

"In Elections, we just make whatever the board decides work," Hayes said.

The commissioners will vote to later approve the map at their 2 p.m. business meeting today, in their chambers in the county Administration Building.

Members of the public can speak at the usual comment period at the end of the meeting.

The county's 71 precincts will still be in place for the March 13 election, which will have two levy questions for Lakeland School District 272 and one for Kellogg Joint School District 391.

Only voters who reside in the school districts are eligible to vote.

Hayes said he expects the new map to garner public support, considering the uproar over the commissioners' original proposal to cut the precinct number in half.

"I don't know if there will even be anyone there," Hayes said of today's meeting. "I think it's housekeeping."

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