A Bipartisan Path Forward on Redistricting

(May 4) – The House gave strong bipartisan support today to a pair of measures to revamp the process of congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment, encouraging the creation of competitive districts and taking steps to prevent gerrymandering.

“These measures are more than just a truce by both parties in the once-per-decade exercise in adjusting legislative and congressional districts – they are Colorado solutions that focus on fair and effective representation for all voters by establishing independent commissions and thoughtful criteria for map drawing,” Speaker Duran said. “They also include important safeguards that prohibit gerrymandering and guard against any effort to erode the influence of communities of color.”

SCR18-004 and SCR18-005, sponsored in the House by Speaker Duran, D-Denver, and Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, would ask Colorado voters to approve the creation of two independent commissions to draw the maps for congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment.

The 12-member panels would be divided 4-4-4 among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, the first time unaffiliateds would have an equal seat at the table during the map-drawing process. The requirement that a final map receive a super-majority vote, including votes from at least two unaffiliated commissioners, is an additional win for unaffiliateds and a powerful check on the power of partisanship in the exercise of map drawing.

Lobbyists, current or former elected officials, and executives from the political parties would not be entitled to serve. Open meeting and open record requirements would also apply to the work of the commission, giving a new level of transparency to the process.

The resolutions also elevate the standing of communities of interest, giving them equal weight with governmental subdivisions like counties and cities, and promote the creation of competitive districts.

“This new system will make Colorado a model for fairness, competitiveness and effective representation of voters at the forefront of redistricting and reapportionment efforts,” Speaker Duran said. “This is Colorado at its best, and I think we’ve found a Colorado solution that will be a national model.”

After a final recorded vote on Monday, SCR18-004 is headed to the November ballot. SCR18-005 has to go back to the Senate for concurrence with Senate amendments.

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