Final Week for Colorado Reapportionment Commission hearings – public testimony on state legislative district maps
The Colorado Reapportionment Commission (charged with drawing our state legislative districts) has completed the final set of preliminary legislative district maps for Colorado, having heard public testimony in meetings in Denver from 31 May to 25 July and bringing the maps to a vote in committee.
This week, the commission wraps up its road show, traveling around the state to solicit additional public testimony and feedback on the preliminary legislative district maps, with hearings in Greeley (Aug 29th), Castle Rock (Aug 30th), back in Denver (Aug 31st), and Broomfield (Sept 1st).
The preliminary state legislative district maps approved by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission may be viewed in their entirety via the following links:
The point of testifying before the commission in these public hearings is both to sway the voting members of the commission to alter the preliminary maps due to prevailing sentiment on how people in a given area wish to be represented, and to build the record for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review of the constitutionality of the adopted maps.
The following quick-reference summary of constitutional provisions controlling how Colorado’s legislative districts are drawn is provided with a view towards informing public testimony – remember to keep your testimony succinct and know your facts to be more effective.
Colorado Constitutional Requirements:
- Equal population (with no more than 5% deviation; ideal district size – Senate: 143, 691, House: 77,372) (Colorado Constitution Article V, Section 46)
- Counties cannot be split unless necessary to achieve equal population between districts
Except when necessary to meet the equal population requirements of section 46, no part of one county shall be added to all or part of another county in forming districts. Article V, Section 47(2)
- Municipalities may not be split unless necessary to achieve equal population between districts (Article V, Section 47(2))
- Districts must be as compact and contiguous as possible, and consist of whole precincts
(1) Each district shall be as compact in area as possible and the aggregate linear distance of all district boundaries shall be as short as possible. Each district shall consist of contiguous whole general election precincts. Districts of the same house shall not overlap. (Article V, Section 47(1))
- Finally, communities of interest – ethnic, economic, cultural, demographic, trade area and geographic – are to be preserved whenever possible
(3) Consistent with the provisions of this section and section 46 of this article, communities of interest, including ethnic, cultural, economic, trade area, geographic, and demographic factors, shall be preserved within a single district wherever possible. (Article V, Section 47(3))
Note that per a previous Colorado Supreme Court ruling (In re: Reapportionment of the Colorado General Assembly), these criteria are listed in order of priority – i.e. there’s a hierarchy of constitutional criteria which must be satisfied in order for legislative districts to pass constitutional review.
- Additional information is also available on the Reapportionment Commission website.
- Constitutional Provisions Controlling Reapportionment/Redistricting (state website listing relevant legal language on Congressional redistricting & state legislative reapportionment)
Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts. We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.