Redistricting

REDICTRICTING UPDATE

 

The two Colorado Redistricting Commissions, Congressional and State Legislative has issued their preliminary maps prepared by the Commissions’ staffs, which appear below. It is important to note that these are not the final maps, by any means. The final population numbers will not be available from the Census Bureau until mid-August. There will be lots of opportunities to make your wishes known. The Commission will be holding a series of listening sessions around the state, which will be critical for us to attend. We are still looking at December for a final decision. Check here in the LATEST NEWS section frequently for updates about the process and the map.

 

Each Commission has 12 members, 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and 4 Unaffiliated. To be final, a map must have 8 positive votes, which is a very high bar. The maps approved by the Commissions must then go to the Colorado Supreme Court for final approval. If no map gets the required 8 votes, it is the Court’s duty to make a final map. Many observers believe that this is the most likely scenario.

 

In developing the maps, the law requires that the Commissions use the following criteria for defining Districts:

 

  1. Have equal population, justifying each variance, no matter how small, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Be composed of contiguous geographic areas
  3. Comply with the Federal "Voting Rights Act of 1965," as amended
  4. Preserve whole communities of interest and whole political subdivisions, such as counties, cities, and towns
  5. Be as compact as is reasonably possible
  6. Maximize the number of politically competitive districts

 

Note that political competitiveness is at the bottom of the list. Districts may not be drawn to protect any incumbent or person seeking an office.

 

One of the key terms is, “communities of interest.” The Commissions’ rules define COI as: “Community of interest” means any group in Colorado that shares one or more substantial interests that may be the subject of federal legislative action, is composed of a reasonably proximate population, and thus should be considered for inclusion with a single district for purposes of ensuring its fair and effective representation.

 

  • Such interests include but are not limited to matters reflecting shared public policy concerns:
    • of urban, rural, agricultural, industrial, or trade areas, cultural; and
    • such as education, employment, environment, public health, transportation, water needs and supplies, and issues of demonstrable regional significance.
  • Groups that may comprise a community of interest include racial, ethnic, and language minority groups, subject to compliance with the Colorado Constitution, which protects against the denial or abridgement of the right to vote due to a person’s race or language minority group.

 

We are looking for people who are interested in participating in the public hearing in Durango on August 7th at 1:00 pm. Comments can be made in person, by Zoom, or on paper. The experts are helping us to prepare statements which will be concise and helpful in keeping our districts fair and equal between the Reds and the Blues. BTW, there are public hearings like this one on line so you can look at what one looks like. If you are interested in testifying or submitting written comments, please contact the County Chair, Becky Herman, at 970-264-2171. It is important that we have a clear, consistent, and effective message to convey to the Commissioners. There will be a meeting sometime next week to discuss strategy.

 

So, here are the 3 maps with some comments on each map from our perspective. Feel free to provide comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Colorado will gain an additional Congressional District because of population growth, mainly on the Front Range. Congressional District 3 has major changes. Basically, the District would lose all of the southern counties east of the Continental Divide (Mineral, Saguache, Custer, Pueblo, Huerfano, Costilla, Conejos, Alamosa and Rio Grande Counties). The District adds Chaffee, Fremont, Teller, Park, Summit, Clear Creek, Grand Counties, and part of Boulder County. The impact on efforts to remove Ms. Boebert in the next election is unclear. However, several of the new counties are very Red, while portions of the San Luis Valley and Pueblo trend Blue. The Democratic Party’s CD3 Central Committee is developing a new map that would make CD3 at least modestly competitive.

 

 

The State Senate map makes huge changes. Archuleta County is now separated from LaPlata and Hinsdale Counties in new Senate District 8. We are included with the San Luis Valley, Fremont and Teller Counties, Huerfano and Las Animas Counties, and part of Pueblo County. Some of these counties lean Democrat, but Teller and Fremont Counties are deep red. It would seem that Archuleta and LaPlata Counties share a strong “community of interest” in retail trade, medical facilities, water, economy, and tourism. So, this would be a strong argument against separating the two counties.

 Colorado House Districts Statewide (Preliminary Map)

 

Archuleta and LaPlata Counties remain together in new House District 52, along with a portion of Montezuma County that includes Cortez. However, our old House District 59, represented by Democrat Barbara McLachlan is significantly reduced in size and probably competitiveness. She loses all of Hinsdale, San Juan, Ouray, and her potion of Gunnison Counties. We are analyzing what the new boundaries would do to Barbara’s chances for victory.