New proposals for Colorado legislative redistricting released

Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 16:47:56-04

DENVER – The latest redistricting proposals on how to draw up Colorado’s legislative districts would keep Democrats in the advantage in the House and Senate and divide up some of the current districts, though the map is not yet finalized.

Monday’s release of the first legislative staff plans for the Colorado House and Senate builds off a preliminary plan released earlier this summer and meetings the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission has hosted over the past couple of weeks.

View: Interactive House proposal | Interactive Senate proposal

The independent commission comprised of an equal number of Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters, which was created by voters’ passage of Amendments Y and Z in 2018, will have to approve final maps by Oct. 11 and submit them to the Colorado Supreme Court for review. The congressional redistricting commission’s map has to be finalized by Sept. 28. The first staff proposal for congressional redistricting was released Sept. 3 and received some criticism about splitting up historically African American districts.

According to analysis released Monday by the independent commission, based off election results from eight statewide elections between 2016 and 2020, nine of the 35 Senate districts would average out to be within 7% of favoring either Democrats or Republicans. Ten of the proposed House districts would be within that same margin.

One of the requirements for the independent commission in drawing new maps is to “maximize the number of politically competitive districts.”

The proposed map would give Democrats edges in both the Senate and House, according to the analysis of competitiveness done by the commission staff. Democrats currently hold a five-seat majority in the Senate and a 17-seat majority in the House.

The commission staff said it worked to keep the Roaring Fork Valley together in the newly released maps and tried to keep local towns and cities that are in two counties together or split at the county border.

The maps can be approved if the commission votes with a two-thirds majority to do so, or commissioners can ask for staff to draw new proposed maps that would be released later this month.

There will be public hearings held Friday and Saturday at which people can sign up to give comment on the proposed maps, but space is capped at 40 people per hearing. People can sign up to testify by clicking here or submit written public comments by clicking here.