the state of Colorado voted to have an independent redistricting commission in 2018 and this commission made up of four democrats, four republicans, and four unaffiliated voters has submitted a new congressional map representing an 8th district for a rapidly, growing population.
But, one redistricting organizer says the new map is partisan drawn and doesn’t reflect the diversity of minority voters in the state. Jennifer Parenti with Common Cause Colorado says, “It rather splits our communities of color across multiple districts while seemingly, prioritizing municipal boundaries and protecting incumbents.”
Parenti’s hope is the the Freedom to Vote Act, which according to the common cause organization, protects voters against discrimination by expanding access, restores voting rights to people with prior felonies, and blocks partisan and racial gerrymandering.
But, one Western Slope lawmaker says the commission did their job and the congressional map fairly represents all communities of interest. Colorado State Representative for District 55, Janice Rich (R) says, “There was ample time for public comment on this, and that particular map came out of that commission 11 to one. So, all they needed was eight to have a majority.”
Parenti with Common Cause says they conducted over 60 mapping community sessions across the state and spoke to over 1,200 Coloradans, but says their research fell on deaf ears and they’re going to keep fighting for a fair map. “Common Cause, along with lots of other organizations, are preparing our own briefs to accompany that map to the courts,” said Parenti. State Representative Rich says, “It’s just going to be up to the courts and whether they agree with the commission, or they agree with any of these entities that challenge the commission.”
Congressional redistricting cycles happen once every decade. The State Supreme Court has until November 1 to approve the map, or it goes back to the redistricting commission. The court must approve a congressional redistricting map by December 15, 2021.