Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission Adopts Modified Schedule, Standards re: Prisoner Reallocation, Contiguity
The Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission today adopted a revised schedule for consideration and final approval of legislative redistricting plans. The revised schedule will allow enough time for the commission to submit a final plan to the Colorado Supreme Court by October 15.
The revised schedule is as follows:
- September 13: Nonpartisan staff posts the first staff plan online. This plan will be drawn using the processed and tabulated final census data.
- September 14: Nonpartisan staff presents the first staff plan to the Commission.
- September 17-18: The commission holds virtual public hearings on the first staff plans. Once these additional hearings are complete, the commission could approve a final plan and submit it to the Supreme Court at any time.
- September 23: Nonpartisan staff posts the second staff plan online (if necessary).
- September 24: Nonpartisan staff presents a second staff plan (if necessary).
- October 3: Nonpartisan staff posts the third staff plan online (if necessary).
- October 4: Nonpartisan staff presents a third staff plan (if necessary).
- October 11: The Commission approves a final plan.
- October 15: Nonpartisan staff prepares and files the final plan with the Colorado Supreme Court.
The Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission today embarked on a discussion of standards, guidelines and methodologies for staff plans, pursuant to the Colorado Constitution, Article V, Section 48.2 (3), and adopted the following:
- Prisoner reallocation: The legislative commission will direct staff to create redistricting plans using a data set that reallocates prisoners based on their home addresses rather than the locations in which they are incarcerated. This motion passed with 10 in favor and two opposed.
- New senate districts with multiple incumbents or holdover senators: After creating a senate plan, the nonpartisan staff shall review the addresses of the holdover senators to determine if two holdover senators are in the same senate district. If there are two holdover senators in the same district, before finalizing the plan and presenting it to the commission, staff would modify the plan as necessary to avoid the issue. This is not for the purposes of protecting incumbents, but to ensure that no district is without a sitting senator for two years. This motion passed unanimously with one commissioner absent.
- Policy on contiguity: The Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission takes “contiguous geographic areas” to exclude districts that are pointwise-contiguous. That is to say, districts that are split into two or more pieces connected only by their corners or only by corners connected to edges (i.e. like the letter “K”) will be excluded from consideration.
Additionally, districts must not narrow at any point to the width of a single roadway, river, railway, or similarly thin geographic feature, unless it proves necessary to do so in order to fulfill constitutionally mandated criteria, such as compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the preservation of city boundaries. While such loosely connected districts fall within the technical definition of a contiguous geographic area, a district split into several pieces connected by narrow unpopulated bands has exactly the same practical impact as a district split into identical disconnected pieces. This motion passed unanimously.
- Technical de minimis adjustments to the adopted senate and house plans: The Commission grants its nonpartisan staff the authority to make technical de minimis adjustments to the adopted senate and house plans prior to the submission to the Supreme Court. This motion passed unanimously with one commissioner absent.