Colorado
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by independent redistricting commission
State BoundariesDrawn by independent redistricting commission
Governor's PartyDemocratic
Legislative PartyDemocratic

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

Congressional

Alert:
Severe

State Legislative

Alert:
Severe

Process

Independent Redistricting Commissions

Beginning in the 2020 redistricting cycle, Colorado's state legislative and congressional districts will be drawn by two separate independent redistricting commissions. These commissions were created after Colorado voters approved Amendments Y and Z by wide margins in the 2018 elections. Both commissions will consist of 12 members: four registered with the state’s largest political party, four with the second largest, and four with no political party. Approving a map requires a supermajority of eight commission members, including two who are unaffiliated.

The two commissions have nearly identical selection processes (congressional outlined in Art. V, § 44.1, state legislative outlined in Art. V, § 47), though the deadlines differ. In summary, applications for both commissions were due in November 2020. A panel of three retired state judges screened the applications and randomly selected 300 applicants from both major parties and 450 unaffiliated applicants, then narrowed down to the 50 most qualified in each category; separately, legislative leaders of both parties each submitted a list of ten applicants from the original pool who affiliate with one of the two major parties. The panel of judges ultimately selected the 12 members of each commission from the panel’s pools and the legislative leaders’ pools.

  • Learn more about the 2021 commissioners on the IRC website.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Colorado’s state constitution requires that state legislative (Art. V, § 48.1) and congressional (Art. V, § 44.3) districts be compact, contiguous, preserve political subdivisions, preserve communities of interest (defined in detail in Art. V, § 46(3)), and be drawn to promote competitiveness. Additionally, intentionally favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, party, or candidate for office is prohibited.

Public Input

Per the Colorado Constitution (Art. V, § 44.2(3) for congressional; Art. V, § 48(3) for state legislative), “all Colorado residents… may present proposed redistricting maps or written comments, or both, for the commission’s consideration.” Both commissions must also conduct at least three public hearings in each congressional district and accept public comment through their websites. 

2011 Cycle

There were a number of issues throughout the 2011 redistricting cycle, from data delays to partisan fighting to contentious public input, culminating in lawsuits from both major political parties over the redistricting plans that reached the state Supreme Court. This cycle, the entirely new redistricting process under the two independent redistricting commissions will hopefully prevent these issues from reoccurring.

Issues

Congressional Seats

Following the 2020 Census apportionment results, Colorado gained one congressional seat.

Actions

Participate in the Commission’s public input process.

  • Obtain Colorado redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the commissions start collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Colorado Redistricting Commissions

League of Women Voters of Colorado

Colorado Common Cause

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia