Briefline

Redistricting panel to hold hearings on newly proposed congressional map

By: - September 7, 2021 12:03 pm

The first staff plan for Colorado’s new congressional district map was released on Sept. 3, 2021. (CIRC)

Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will hold a series of hearings this week to solicit feedback from the public on the first official draft of its plan to redraw the state’s congressional districts ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Nonpartisan redistricting staff on Friday released the first of three “staff plans” for Colorado’s new congressional map, including a newly apportioned 8th District centered on the north Denver metro area. Subsequent plans will be revised to incorporate feedback from the public and the redistricting commission’s 12 appointed members, with a final plan due to be submitted for review by the Colorado Supreme Court by Oct. 1.

The first staff plan differs significantly from a “preliminary” plan proposed by state staff in June, prior to the release of detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau and weeks of feedback gathered at public hearings held across the state.

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Most notably, the newly proposed map would extend the boundaries of the 2nd District to include much of the northwestern corner of the state, while keeping the San Luis Valley and greater Pueblo area in the 3rd District. That could set up a reelection battle between Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette and first-term GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Silt.

The first staff map would also expand the 7th District, currently centered on the suburbs west of Denver and occupied by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, into Park County and surrounding rural mountain communities, rather than into conservative-leaning Douglas County, as proposed by the preliminary plan.

Overall, based on current voter registration data and results from the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Colorado, the map would give Democrats the edge in five of the new districts, while Republicans would be favored in three.

The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, a first-of-its-kind panel overseeing Colorado’s once-a-decade redistricting process, will hold four public comment hearings on the proposed staff plan this week. The hearings will be the final opportunity for members of the public to weigh in on the new congressional map.

Coloradans who wish to speak can sign up to testify remotely from home, or visit one of several “staffed sites” across the state. The times and locations of the hearings are as follows:

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

More information about how to testify remotely or visit a staffed site is available on the commission’s website.

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.

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