The latest proposed maps for newly created state legislative districts give Democrats a similar edge to the one they have now.
But the maps released on Monday are not necessarily final. The independent commission has worked to submit the new district lines to the Colorado Supreme Court by October 11 for them to review, and the commission may ask nonpartisan staff to submit more proposed maps before.
“I think it’s very likely that we’ll get at least a second, if not a third, version,” said Jessica Shipley, staff director for the Legislative Redistribution Commission.
Democrats, who currently hold a 20-15 majority in the state Senate, will hold the lead in 22 state senate districts under the latest proposal, based on how voters fared during Colorado’s 2020 US Senate contest. Notably, under the new proposal the four districts would be competitive enough to be considered essentially a toss-up.
With at least 11 potentially competing districts, Democrats will maintain their 41-24 advantage in the State House.
Monday’s maps follow a preliminary set before June, which was criticized by lawmakers in rural and urban areas alike for breaking up communities, including the San Luis and Roaring Fork Valleys or Denver-area neighborhoods with substantial non-white populations. Are included.
Several lawmakers said Monday afternoon they were still reviewing the maps to see if those concerns were addressed, something Shipley said staff did their best to do.
“Obviously there’s a trade-off,” she said. “You can keep some (communities) together and that means others are separated.”
For example, under this new map, Garfield and Mesa counties would be divided into two Senate districts on Interstate 70 and Larimer County would be divided into three separate Senate districts, one of which would cover Fort Collins.
The public is invited to provide feedback on these maps during three virtual sessions (6-9 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and 6-9 p.m. on Saturdays). Anyone wishing to speak is asked to sign up in advance.
Shipley said the commission would not fix any of the maps until at least that comment came.
Fair competition is the point of this one-decade redistribution process. Colorado voters approved two ballot measures in 2018 to ensure that panels with equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated members would redraw congressional and legislative maps.
Monday’s maps will be submitted Tuesday to the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistribution Commission, which can approve them with a two-thirds majority or request nonpartisan staff to prepare another proposal and release it on Sept. . If necessary, employees will issue another proposal Oct. 3.