Briefline

Colorado Supreme Court approves new state House, Senate maps

By: - November 15, 2021 12:10 pm

The Colorado Capitol seen from the east on the morning of April 12, 2021. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

The Colorado Supreme Court gave final approval Monday morning to new state House and Senate districts, the final step in the inaugural independent redistricting process.

Under those new maps, Democrats are favored to maintain their majorities in both chambers.

The new Colorado House districts map approved by the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission on Oct. 12, 2021. (Screenshot from Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions)

Based on the results of recent elections, the approved House map contains 30 safe Democratic districts with at least a 10 point advantage, six that lean Democratic, 19 safe Republican districts and one that leans Republican. There are nine districts where the average of recent election results falls within a 5 percentage point margin. District 18 in El Paso County and District 61 in Arapahoe County fall within a 1 percentage point margin for either party.

On the Senate side, there are now 13 safe Democratic districts, five that lean Democratic, nine safe Republican districts and eight that fall within a 5 percentage point margin. Districts 6, 15 and 16 fall within a 1 percentage point margin for either party.

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The independent redistricting commission was mandated to draw districts that had an even population, were geographically contiguous, complied with the federal Voting Rights Act, preserved communities of interest, were as compact as possible and maximized competitiveness.

Critics of the legislative maps took issue with the splitting of Greeley, Lakewood and Pueblo West, but lawyers for the commission successfully argued that there was good reason to do so.

The Independent Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Commissions are the first of their kind to oversee the once-a-decade redistricting process in Colorado following voter approval of anti-gerrymandering measures Amendments Y and Z  in 2018. These newly-approved maps will stand for the next 10 years.

The new Colorado Senate districts map approved by the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission on Oct. 11, 2021. (Screenshot from Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions)

“Notwithstanding the difficult circumstances, the Commission, its nonpartisan staff, its outside counsel, and numerous members of the public, interested parties, and their counsel worked tirelessly to ensure that the process worked as the people of Colorado intended, and the court expresses its gratitude to all those who participated in this process for their exceptional efforts in these most extraordinary of times,” the court’s ruling states.

Coloradans can search their address in an online interactive map to see which state House or Senate district they live in.

The new maps draw some incumbents into the same district. The commission did not consider incumbents when drawing the new lines.

The Supreme Court separately approved the state’s new congressional map, which includes a new 8th District, earlier this month.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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