In America, elections are supposed to represent the will of the people - not the will of politicians.
This year, the new independent citizen redistricting commissions Colorado Common Cause helped to pass will draw congressional and state legislative districts that will be in place for the entire decade. Coloradans must make our voices heard in the process.
Who Draws Districts?
Two 12-person independent citizen redistricting commissions draw districts. One will draw Colorado’s U.S. House districts and the other will draw Colorado Senate and House districts. These commissions include four Democrats, four Republicans, and four unaffiliated Colorado voters.
Colorado’s Congressional Redistricting Commission has been finalized. Learn more about the commissioners here: Congressional Redistricting Commission
When do they Draw Districts?
The state law calendar includes an application, screening, and appointment period lasting from August 2020 until March 2021, when the governor convenes the commissions. Each commission then has just under four months, until July 2021, to conduct hearings around the state and take public input. The commission drawing congressional districts has until September 1, 2021 to approve districts and the commission drawing state legislative districts has until September 15, 2021. Finally, the Colorado Supreme Court is required to approve congressional districts by December 15, 2021 and state legislative districts by December 29, 2021.
This timeline cannot be applied in 2021 due to delays in the release of Census data. Colorado’s legal deadlines for drawing districts will have to be adjusted to accommodate the projected September 30, 2021 release of population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Updates on that timeline will be posted, as available.
What does the Census Bureau’s Updated Schedule Mean?
Getting Colorado accurate population data is essential to fair representation, but the delivery of population data as late as September 30 requires taking action to make redistricting a people-driven process. The Colorado Constitution allows for some movement of deadlines for delays that are out of the commissions’ control. However, a failure to explicitly move deadlines could result in shortening the four-month public participation period that is essential to giving Coloradans a voice in their own representation.
What Criteria will Commissioners Use to Draw Districts?
Districts must comply with the provisions of the US Constitution and Voting Rights Act and have equal population balance. In addition, Commissioners must prioritize:
- Keeping communities of interest and political subdivisions whole.
- Maximize the number of politically competitive districts to the extent possible.
Districts may not be drawn:
- To protect one or more incumbents, declared candidates, or political party.
- With intent or effect of denial/abridgement of voting rights or vote dilution because of race or membership in language minority group.
 Only for state legislative districts: Political subdivisions should be wholly contained, except when the division of a political subdivision is less essential than a community of interest’s issues are to fair and effective representation of residents of the districts.