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Politics

Five Major Changes In Colorado’s Newest Proposed Congressional District Map

A screenshot of the first staff plan map.
Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions
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A second, shorter and mostly virtual round of public meetings will be held this week to allow more public input, since this map uses different population numbers than the map that the public was commenting on previously.

A new draft of Colorado’s congressional district map was released late Friday. Unlike the previous preliminary map, this one uses official population data from the 2020 census count instead of estimates. That, along with public comments from 36 meetings in July and August, has led to some major changes in the map’s proposed districts, particularly the new eighth district Colorado gained due to a population increase counted in the 2020 census.

The map is not necessarily final, staff might create up to two more maps for the commissioners to choose from after the public meetings.

Here are 5 of the biggest changes in the new proposed map:

1) CD8: The new eighth district shifts to contain Greeley and Windsor at its northernmost point, stretching south to Thornton and part of Denver.  

A side-by-side comparison of the new and old proposed districts.
Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions

Unlike the previous proposed eighth district, this would no longer contain Broomfeild. The change comes after some back and forth in public comments about whether Greeley should be in a district that includes the Eastern Plains and concerns about the previously proposed district being too uncompetitive and not Hispanic enough. A combined analysis of eight elections since 2016 shows this district would likely be the most competitive of all eight districts in this map, slightly favoring Democrats. It would also have the highest Hispanic population, at nearly 40% of the district's total population.

2) CD4: Fort Collins would become part of the same district as Sterling, Yuma and other much smaller and more rural Eastern Plains communities. 

A side-by-side comparison of the new and old proposed districts.
Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions

Previously, Fort Collins was in a district that contained all of Larimer County and most of Boulder County. In general, public comments were split over how much of Boulder and Larimer counties should be in the same district as the West Slope. That eight-election analysis suggests this district would favor Republicans and be somewhat uncompetitive. It would also be nearly tied with two other congressional districts for the highest non-Hispanic white population at about 76%.

3) CD2: Boulder, Broomfield and most of Larimer (outside of Fort Collins) counties would be part of a Western Slope district that stays north of Mesa and Eagle Counties

A side-by-side comparison of the new and old proposed districts.
Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions

Previously, only a jagged western portion of Boulder County was in the same district as the Western Slope. That proposed district stretched to the state’s southern border. This would be the other district that is about tied for non-Hispanic white population with the Eastern Plains/Fort Collins district above. It likely would also be uncompetitive, favoring Democrats.

4) CD4: Along with adding Fort Collins, the new proposed Eastern Plains district would contain all of Douglas and a larger part of El Paso. 

However, unlike the last preliminary map, this district would no longer contain Greeley or Arapahoe County and would stick to the southeast border counties instead of stretching to contain southwest counties as far as Mineral and Saguache.

5) CD3: A proposed new third district would primarily contain the southern part of the state, stretching only as far north as Eagle and Mesa counties. 

A side-by-side comparison of the new and old proposed districts.
Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions

Previously, the southern counties in this proposed district were split between two districts that also contained the northwestern and northeastern corners of the state. This new proposed district was created by staff because a majority of commissioners voted to ask them to do so. In a memo, staff say they aren’t making an official recommendation to the commission by putting a mostly southern district in this map, adding that “there are advantages and disadvantages” to such a district and, ultimately, whether such a district is included in a final map will be entirely up to the commissioners. This district would be somewhat competitive, favoring republicans. It would also have the highest American Indian population at 3%.

A second, shorter and mostly virtual round of public meetings will be held this week to allow more public input, since this map uses different population numbers than the map that the public was commenting on previously. A limited number of people who sign up online 24 hours ahead of the meeting will be able to testify in-person. The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 7, 6-9 p.m. Limited in-person comments in Denver
  • Wednesday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Limited in-person comments in Limon and Fountain
  • Thursday, Sept. 9, 1-4 p.m. Limited in-person comments in Eagle and Grand Lake
  • Friday, Sept. 10, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Limited in-person comments in Thornton and Aurora

In August, the state Supreme Court gave the redistricting commissions the green light to push the final map deadlines back because 2020 census count population data was released months late. So, the final map will be submitted to the court for approval in early October.

The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commissioners will go over the maps with the staff that put them together during their regular Monday meeting. A new preliminary legislative district map will be released next Monday and presented to the commissions the following Tuesday.

The commissions decided how incarcerated people should be counted in electoral districts in August. Up to now, prison populations have been counted as living in the community they’re imprisoned in.

For U.S. congressional districts, a split vote, with all fourRepublican commissioners and one unaffiliated commissioner voting against, means the congressional commission will keep counting imprisoned people in the community of their incarceration.

For state House and Senate districts, however, the legislative commissioners overwhelmingly voted to count them according to their previous address.

READ MORE: Colorado Finally Has Some Local Census Data After A Months-Long Delay. Here's What Happens Next

A 2020 state law, HB20-1010, said incarcerated people should be counted in the community of their last known address. Congressional Commissioner Martha Coleman favored that approach, saying in an August meeting, “Many incarcerated individuals, once their time is served and parole is complete, will be able to vote at some point in the next 10 years. And when they do, it will not be at the site of their incarceration.”

Everything you need to know about the redistricting process up to this point:

09/04/21 - Colorado Finally Has Some Local Census Data After A Months-Long Delay. Here's What Happens Next

08/22/21 - Want Changes To Colorado's Electoral District Maps? Here's How To Weigh In At Upcoming Public Meetings

07/29/21 - Redistricting Isn't Just About Congress. New Rough Draft Colorado General Assembly Maps Are Out

07/23/21 - A Rough Draft Of Colorado's New Congressional District Map Is Out. Here's What You Need To Know

07/01/21 - Colorado Supreme Court Says Bipartisan Redistricting Bill Would Be 'Unconstitutional' If Passed

06/20/21 - Why Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions Oppose A Bipartisan State Bill Designed To Help Them

04/26/21 - Colorado Is Getting Another Representative In Congress. Here's What You Need To Know About The Census Count Release

04/06/21 - Redistricting Commission Chair Replaced Over Misinformation-Filled Social Media Posts

03/22/21 - Who Will You Be Voting Alongside For The Next 10 Years? Independent Commissions Have Begun Reworking Colorado Districts

02/08/21 - As Colorado Prepares To Draw Political Districts And Allocate Tax Dollars, The Census Throws A Wrench Into the Process

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