What is HJR4 on your ballot?

Posted at 8:21 AM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 19:15:52-04

IDAHO — As you are looking over your ballot, you might notice Constitutional Amendment HJR4, a proposal to change the state's constitution.

Currently, the Idaho State Senate has 35 senators elected from 35 districts. The House has 70 representatives elected from the same 35 districts. 2021 is a redistricting year and advocates want to change the state constitution to mandate that 35 districts be the standard, not any smaller or any larger.

"So, HJR4 is simply establishing how my legislative districts we’re going to have in the state of Idaho,” State Representative Brent Crane says. “The way the current constitution of the state of Idaho has this process set up is where we can have anywhere between 30 to 35 legislative districts.”

The advocates say fewer districts would make the districts too large for adequate representation.

“So right now in Idaho law when we reapportion and redistrict our legislative boundaries, it suggests there could be between 30 and 35 districts. HJR4 proposes to set the number of districts at 35," said Jaclyn Kettler, BSU Assistant Professor of Political Science.

As of now when those lines are redrawn, the commission in charge has the choice is making between 30 and 35 districts.

The HJR4 amendment on all Idaho ballots this November, if passed would change the Idaho constitution and say the commission must draw the state into 35 districts.

“If we allow the commission to go down to 30 districts that means those districts are going to have to be bigger which means that there’s going to be more people vying for the attention of your representative,” House Minority Leader, Ilana Rubel says.

Rubel also says this would be a benefit for Idahoans.

“I think it's great right now that Idaho has representatives that you see every day in your supermarkets and out at a local restaurant near you and I would hate to see that go away and have giant districts strung where people are further away from their representative,” Rubel says.

A "yes" vote supports changing the state constitution to mandate 35 districts. A "no" vote opposes the mandate and leaves the state constitution as it currently is.