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Initiative to End Partisan Gerrymandering Moves Forward in Colorado

by Kathleen Curry, published

A bipartisan team of proponents has banded together in the State of Colorado to put an end to gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts. Although we currently rely on a re-apportionment commission to do the job every ten years, what happens without fail is that the commission can’t agree on a map and the matter lands in the lap of the Colorado Supreme Court.

The court then looks at maps submitted by each of the two major parties, and lines end up being drawn based on the maps submitted by the major party that is in power at the time. Our initiative would amend the state constitution to require the nonpartisan Legislative Council staff  -- not the parties -- draw maps that don’t favor any particular political party.

In addition, the initiative requires that a newly constituted Redistricting Commission be made up of twelve members, four from each major party and four that are not affiliated with any major party. Action on a map could only be taken if a supermajority of the commission's members are in favor, and competitiveness would be included as one of the criteria for drawing district boundaries.

The proponents of the measure include unaffiliated, Republican, and Democratic former legislators. We are currently in the process of setting the initiative title, and fending off a legal challenge filed by our opponents.

Assuming we survive the trip to the Supreme Court, we will be headed out to obtain petition signatures so we can put the question on the ballot. The initiative's proponents are committed to taking party politics out of the redistricting process as well as engaging non-major party voters in the process.

About 39% of the registered voters in Colorado are not members of either major parties.  This initiative will bring some equity to the process here! Stay tuned for more information about the progress of this initiative.


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