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September 18, 2021 05:13 PM UTC

Congressional Redistricting: how it ends

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Dano

Caveat: I have only followed the Congressional Commission, so I have no idea how the Legislative Commission is doing.

I suspect the 3rd staff drawn map that will be revealed on Thursday (Sept. 23rd) will be THE map, and this is why:

If the Commission is unable to pass a map with 8 out of 12 votes, the 3rd Staff Map is then submitted to the Colo. Supreme Court for approval. There seems to be some fundamental divides in the Commission that I don’t know they will be able to get past to get to 8 votes. One biggie is what to do with CD3. They are pretty equally divided over having it be roughly the southern portion of the state from Utah to Kansas, or having it be the traditional configuration of the western most portion from Wyoming to New Mexico.

If they can get consensus on that issue, their other disagreements, largely about how to configure the new CD8, can probably be worked out. They do seem to have consensus that CD8 will be in Denver’s northern suburbs, just minor quibbles about which cities/towns to include and which not to.

The last big problem to solve is CD4 – they don’t want a population center because that would mean coming into the front range, but population-wise, that has to happen. None of the front-range communities feel like they are a good match for a rural/farming district like CD4 any longer. So in the end, someone is not going to be happy, because putting all of the Eastern Plains counties together, they are still only about 60% of a district, so 40% would still have to come from the front range. If the “southern CD3” map were adopted, then even more because fewer eastern counites would be in CD4.

CD’s 1 (Denver), 5 (Colo Springs), 6 (Aurora), and 7 (Jeffco plus) mostly draw themselves with only minor discussion over the suburbs that fill the gaps between them and how far west 7 will go. CD2’s borders are closely tied to CD8’s, solve one and the other is done also, the how far west CD2 goes is closely tied to the fate of CD3.

The next two weeks will be the ones to watch. The 3rd Staff Plan comes out on Thursday, and the Commission has to approve a map (or not) by the following Tuesday (Sept. 28th) for submission to the Supreme Court no later than Oct 1st.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Congressional Redistricting: how it ends

  1. I've watched some meetings/hearings of both Commissions. The Legislative Commission comes across as being quite functional as a group – Commissioners are engaged, ask good questions of those who testify, and don't attack each other.

    On the other hand, the Congressional Commission is seriously dysfunctional – they attack each other, they don't follow their own agreed-upon processes well, they hold grudges, and their work does not appear to be well-connected to Constitutional and legal priorities. Some Commissioners just seem to enjoy hearing the sound of their own voices. And think about it – adjusting geography to achieve 8 equal-population districts seems a whole lot simpler than adjusting for 35 state Senate districts or 65 state House districts. Who has the more difficult assignment here, folks?!

    Congressional Commissioners seem to have lost sight of the communities of interest concept except as it applies to a very few places on the map. The Roaring Fork Valley gets a lot of attention – maybe Commissioners think it's a food court. Also receiving random attention are mountain resorts (sometimes), Greeley, military installations, colleges/universities (sometimes), the metro area, and Republicans on the western slope apparently believed by some number of Commissioners to represent "rural" Colorado as a whole.

    The southern district concept appears to be losing not gaining support, due to a number of factors including the fact that it's not being "sold" well to Commission members by proponents on the Commission. I had hoped the idea would receive serious consideration – the "southern slope" is genuinely a community of interest – but I don't see it happening.

     

  2. I don't know if you have been sitting in the Map Analytics Committee meetings, but there the "Southern District" has dominated almost every discussion. To the point of only occasionally discussing the metro area.

    This dysfunction you have observed is another reason why I think it will be the 3rd Staff Map coming out on Thursday that will be the final map presented to the Supreme Court.

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