Congressional mapping in its last lap

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday), the Congressional Redistricting Commission will vote on a map out of about 30 variations on the same theme. They will be using ranked voting which might get them to a winner. A list of the maps which were presented to the Commission in time to be considered are here: List of Maps. The list is not linked to the maps (unfortunately) so you have to hunt for them a bit in the map gallery. I am not super fond of any them, but none of the are absolutely terrible either. As I said, they are mostly variations on the same theme.

Now that we have been through the process I have to say I am not very happy with the way it played out. I think the Commission shot themselves in the foot by carving out some lines in the sand they decided early on they would not cross. One of the big ones was to put CD8 in the northern suburbs of Denver. In some maps it reaches to and includes Greeley and others it stops just short. By doing this they force the population base for CD4 to be either Ft. Collins or Douglas County, neither of which fits CD4 as well as Greeley and the rest of Weld Co. do. They also decided early on that Pueblo had to be in CD3, cutting off yet another possible population source for CD4.

To me the logical place for CD8 was in Douglas County. Last time around, they split DougCo 3-ways and they were not happy about it. This time they might be split, they might not, depending on which map prevails, but either way they have to be at least part of the population base for CD4 because of the decision to put CD8 in largely Weld County, and many DougCo people testified to the Commission that is not where they belong.

There was a lot of talk of building a district with a larger Latinx voice, but that too was largely shoved aside in favor of other interests. One of my proposed maps had a district as high as 40% Latinx, higher than anything proposed by others. But it divided West Denver off to be included with the northern CD8 and they decided Denver was sacrosanct (despite the fact that at least part had to be cut off to balance population.)

I also do not like the way they treated map submissions from the public. They all went to a Map Analytic Committee for review. On the surface this committee was only supposed to check for if the maps complied with the Constitutional requirements, but it ended up being a gate-keeper committee. The Commission only discussed maps the Committee formally presented and they only presented one. There were many maps in there that met the Constitutional requirements that should have been put forth en mass to the Commission. Then the individual Commissioners could look them over and decide if they wanted to bring up any for discussion or formal presentation (making it qualified to be voted on).

In the unlikely event that I am still alive in 10 years, I really hope I get selected for this Commission (I didn’t qualify this time because I changed affiliation with the 5-year period).

2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    First, I’m confused by your paragraph — who are “they”?

    To me the logical place for CD8 was in Douglas County. Last time around, they split DougCo 3-ways and they were not happy about it. This time they might be split, they might not, depending on which map prevails, but either way they have to be at least part of the population base for CD4 because of the decision to put CD8 in largely Weld County, and many DougCo people testified to the Commission that is not where they belong.

    Second, from the Commission’s written materials, there are more “eligible” plans — the list is over a page long (each listed on one or two double-spaced line). All four of the staff plans are listed as eligible. Four “Public” submissions are on the list.  The rest appear to be proposals from some Commission member (or multiple members).  If they didn’t go through the Map analytics committee, how were the plans determined to be eligible?

    • Dano says:

      Sorry, could have been clearer on my "theys". First one is the Congressional Redistricting Commission from 2011, the rest refer to Douglas County residents who testified before the Commissions (either then or now), and the ones who made comments in writing (regularly reported to the current Commission at their meetings)

      3 of the public submissions were ones that a specific Commissioner (not the Maps Analaytic Committee) brought forward. Some of the Commissioners were more pro-active in this regard than others.

      That page plus of eligible plans has now been pared down to I think 10 that will be on the ballot this evening for the final vote.

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