Preliminary Colorado legislative maps were presented to the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission the morning of June 29. The proposed state senate and state congressional maps can be viewed and downloaded at redistricting.colorado.gov/content/2021-redistricting-maps.
"These maps, compiled by nonpartisan commission staff, are a starting point as the commissions gather public input over the course of the next several months," a commission-issued news release said. "Redistricting commissions staff and the Colorado State Demography Office worked together to create the preliminary data set, which was approved by the commissions last month. These maps will be presented and open to discussion and feedback in a series of public hearings across Colorado."
The preliminary data set is also loaded into the Redistricting Online Portal. This tool allows anyone to draw and review Colorado redistricting maps and submit them to the commissions for consideration.
Per the Colorado Constitution, the new Legislative districts must:
- Have equal population, as required by the United States Constitution, with a population deviation of no more than 5 percent between the most populous and the least populous district in each chamber;
- Be composed of contiguous geographic areas;
- Comply with the federal "Voting Rights Act of 1965," as amended;
- Preserve whole communities of interest and whole political subdivisions, such as counties, cities and towns; however, a division of a county, city, city and county, or town is permitted where a community of interest's legislative issues are more essential to the fair and effective representation of residents of the district. When the commission divides a county, city, city and county, or town, it shall minimize the number of divisions of that county, city, city and county, or town;
- Be as compact as is reasonably possible; and thereafter
- Maximize the number of politically competitive districts.
Districts cannot be drawn for the purpose of:
- Protecting incumbents in or declared candidates for the Colorado General Assembly or any political party; or
- Denying or abridging the right of any citizen to vote on account of that person's race or membership in a language minority group, including diluting the impact of that racial or language minority group's electoral influence.
After public hearings conclude and once Colorado receives the census redistricting data (after Aug. 16) staff will refine the maps and present revisions to the commissions for consideration and approval. Upon adopting final state senate and state congressional maps, the commission will submit maps to the Colorado Supreme Court for review and approval.
Written public comments will remain open and available through the public hearing process and the consideration of final maps, the release said. The commissions will also conduct a second round of public hearings, one in each congressional district, after maps have been completed using the final census data.
"Enacted in 2018, the Colorado Constitution requires the establishment of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission and the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission (commissions) and requires the commissions to redraw U.S. House of Representatives and state legislative districts following each federal census occurring every 10 years," the release said.
The release added that the two commissions are composed of 12 members — four members who are registered with the Republican Party, four members who are registered with the Democratic Party, and four members who are not registered with any political party. The commissions are assisted by nonpartisan staff who are employed by nonpartisan service agencies of the Colorado General Assembly.