Redistricting in Colorado
|Process:||Colorado Reapportionment Commission|
|Deadline:||March 15, 2012|
|Total Seats to be Drawn|
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- 1 Process
- 2 Leadership
- 3 Census results
- 4 2011 news
- 5 Congressional maps
- 6 Legislative maps
- 7 Legal issues
- 8 Reform legislation
- 9 Timeline
- 10 Partisan Registration by District
- 11 History
- 12 Deviation from "Ideal Districts"
- 13 Lawsuits related to the 2000 Census
- 14 Ballot measures
- 15 Constitutional explanation
- 16 See also
- 17 External links
- 18 References
This page is about redistricting in Colorado. The Reapportionment Commission and the General Assembly redraw Colorado's 100 legislative seats and seven Congressional seats, respectively. Colorado grew almost 17% between 2000-2010, but this was still not enough to deliver on mid-decade hopes that the Centennial State could pick up an eighth Congressional seat. Hispanics were a major driver of the state's growth, and as of 2010 they made up one-fifth of the Colorado population.
According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," Colorado is home one of the top ten redistricting battles in the nation, ranking ninth on the list. Illinois was ranked first.
Colorado employs two distinct processes for redistricting:
- Congressional redistricting: Under Article V, Section 44 of the Colorado Constitution, the Colorado General Assembly is responsible for Congressional redistricting.
- State legislative reapportionment: After the adoption of Colorado Amendment 6 in 1974, constitutional authority rests with the Reapportionment Commission.
Congressional Redistricting Committee
Congressional maps are handled by a committee comprised of members of both chambers, who introduce bills to the entire body, which are then passed like regular Assembly bills.
Representative David Balmer, an Arapahoe County Republican with several terms in the House, was named the head of the House's Redistricting Committee for 2011. After initial estimates of a hypothetical special session in the summer came in around $180,000, Balmer announced a plan to wrap up redistricting by the legislature's May 2011 sine die adjournment. Ironically, the need to deal with the Centennial State's budget threatened to swallow the regular 90 day session and force a special session in the summer.
Another concern was that the extensive hearings scheduled around the state in the first part of 2011 would be used by both parties to buy time and gather ammunition for a battle on the legislative floor in April, something Balmer strongly denied. "We are very serious about passing a fair redistricting map prior to the end of April...[and] not leave it to the courts."
Also named early was Republican Rep. B.J. Nikkel, elected from Loveland, in Denver's outer ring of suburbs. On the Senate side, second-term Democrat Gail Schwartz, who represented one of the large rural swathes cutting through the state's southwest, was named. 2011 Committee membership was as follows:
For the Senate:
For the House:
Colorado Reapportionment Commission
The Redistricting Process in Colorado
The Colorado Reapportionment Commission is responsible for reapportioning state legislative districts.
This reapportionment commission is comprised of 11 members, chosen by the following:
- 4 by the Colorado General Assembly
- 3 by the Governor
- 4 by the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice
Each branch has its own deadline to make its Commission appointments. The General Assembly is required to name its appointees by a certain date (April 15, 2011 in the most recent case). The appointees are split evenly between the state House and Senate, majority and minority parties, resulting in an 2:2 tie, regardless of how lopsided the balance of the power is in the current Assembly.
At that point, the Governor has ten days to name three additional members. Gubernatorial appointees may not belong to the legislature and may be of any political party, meaning nothing legally prevents the sitting governor from naming three members of his own party.
The final four commission members are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, most recently between April 25th and May 5th, 2011. The Chief Justice's appointments may have any political affiliation but may not come from the legislature. Since the Chief Justice appoints last, and with fewest restrictions, the Chief Justice effectively plays the dominant role in determining the makeup of the commission, in addition to reserving the power of final review for both Congressional and state-level legislative district maps.
Of the seven appointees who are not elected officials, each Congressional District must have at least one representative; no District may have more than four of the appointees, and at least one appointee must reside West of the Continental Divide. Because of the Democratic edge in state politics, the two Republicans mandated by law could well be the only GOP representation on the commission.
The Governor of Colorado, which in 2010 was Democrat John Hickenlooper, has the ability to veto whatever map the legislature submits to him. If the Assembly and the Governor could not arrive at a mutually satisfactory plan within the time span of the legislative session, set to adjourn May 11, 2011, then Colorado taxpayers would footing the bill for a pricy special session during the summer.
Regarding House, Senate, and U.S. Congressional districts, Colorado's redistricting was more likely to follow what are called 'enumeration districts' than county boundaries. Enumeration districts are determined by the Census for purposes of gathering details about populations.
In addition to the members, the Commission had three staff attorneys, Jeremiah Barry, who also served as Staff Director, Kate Meyer, Troy Bratton; and one dedicated Legislative Assistant, Amanda King. The membership of the commission itself came out to a 5-5-1 split between the major parties and the independents.
Named by House Speaker Frank McNulty was former Representative Rob Witwer, also a Republican. Prior to serving in the House, Witwer had been the-Governor Owens' counsel during the legal fiasco following the 2000 Census. Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp added attorney Mario Nicolais to the panel.
Governor Hickenlooper announced his nominees on the latest possible day, April 25, 2011. His three choices were:
- Gayle A. Berry, a former Republican legislator representing Grand Junction, currently working as a lobbyist at the state Capitol
- Former Democratic Mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb, singled out in the Governor's press release as an "elder statesman"
- Alamosa Democrat Andrew Salazar, brother of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Hickenlooper cabinet appointee John Salazar
While Hickenlooper may have hoped for some credit in naming one Republican, a former Democratic Senate majority Leader, Bill Theibaut, called the Governor out, writing that he was ."..disappointed that the governor did not appoint three Democrats this year..." and ."..hoped [the final maps would be] sufficiently similar to the existing ones so that Democrats can compete for the majority in each House."
Lastly, the Colorado supreme Court, with Michael Bender as Chief Justice, named the following:
- Denver lawyer Dolores Atencio, a Democrat
- Businessman Mario Carrera, an unaffiliated voter from the south Denver suburb of Parker
- Political scientists Robert Loevy, a Colorado Springs Republican
- Steve Tool, a former Republican Representative from Windsor
Preliminary data showed Colorado to have gained 16.9% new residents from April 2000 to April 2010, bringing the state's population to 5,029,196. This made Colorado 9th overall in population growth during the decade 2000-2010. Overall, that translated into a gain in nationwide rankings for population size, from 24th to 22nd.
While the state could have gained an 8th Congressional seat had the early 2000's rate of growth kept up, Colorado ultimately fell short of that. Census Bureau data showed that, as of April 2010, Hispanics represented fully 20% of Coloradans. 80% of the entire population lived along the I-25 corridor, the state's main north-south highway. Such urbanization meant the 3rd and 4th seats, massive rural districts, could pick up even more land to balance the population of Congressional seat. Oddly, the 4th was overpopulated, and looked to lose heavily populated land at the same time it picked up sparser areas.
Both the 3rd and 4th were in Republican hands for the 112th Congress. The 6th, covering Denver's right-leaning southern suburbs, and the 5th, made up of highly conservative Colorado Springs, were the other two GOP seats. Both might give some land to the 4th, where they already shared a border. The 6th, which needed to shed almost 80,000 voters to be in proportion, became Colorado's most lop-sided seat. In northern Denver, the 7th District - drawn when Colorado gained a seat in 2000 and the subject of some fame as an almost perfectly neutral seat - steadily moved left, leaving a safe seat for then incumbent, Ed Perlmutter.
Committee Chair for the House is disciplined
Two members of Colorado's redistricting committee, representing different parties and different chambers, caused late January fireworks at the state capitol when a testy debate over scheduling townhall style meetings with citizens got truly out of hand. Senator Gail Schwartz, a Democrat representing the mountain town of Snowmass, and Republican Representative David Balmer of Centennial, a Denver suburb, had been discussing the reason for moving an upcoming meeting from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction, both rural towns in the state's west. Sen. Schwartz had disagreed with moving the event and Rep. Balmer, apparently trying to explain the reason for the change, followed Schwartz onto the Senate floor where his “boisterous noise and...hand gestures” caused a Sergeant-at-Arms to show him off the Senate floor.
Senate President Brandon Shaffer and House Speaker Frank McNulty were both poised to convene committees and investigate Rep. Balmer's behavior, with the possibility of censure, until Balmer made an apology to Schwartz that satisfied both chambers. He was, however, banned from the Senate floor and chambers for the remainder of the 2011 session. Schwartz made no public comment other than to say Balmer's behavior had been “inappropriate”.
Public meetings around the state began on the last weekend in February. In Loveland, Rep. Balmer adamantly told the audience, "We are definitely going to make all seven districts even down to one person," a statement that drew murmurs of agreement but also one that gives a mandate to whoever ultimately sat on the Commission that actually drew the maps.
Comments from citizens at the Loveland meeting frequently converged on voters' feelings about where their communities of interest laid. One crystal clear sentiment was the pronounced wish of Longmont residents not to be moved into a district with their southern neighbor, the very liberal enclave of Boulder. Participants at the second scheduled hearing voiced a similar fear over the city of Lakewood, which at the time was entirely in the 7th District, being split. Along with Longmont's wish to remain in the 4th, hearings attendees suggested one obvious, if contentious, way to balance two out of kilter seats. The 1st, which was the City of Denver, and the 6th, comprising Denver's southern suburbs, must, respectively, gain and lose residents. Moving part of the right-leaning 6th into the 1st was an easy idea and a way to make both seats a little more competitive on paper, but hit opposition from residents of the 6th who likely wanted no part of Denver's Congressional seat.
Denver's Congressional boundaries also came up at the second public meeting, held in Denver with the city's Mayor and U.S. Representative. Both pushed for keeping Denver's boundaries intact, but the real debate was in where Denver should go to add the 56,000 residents it needed to pick up. Picking up portions of Aurora and Commerce City, for instance, would have done very little to lessen the Democratic flavor of the seat, but it would have increased the chances of a minority candidate for the seat.
Hearings next moved to El Paso, home of Colorado Springs and heart of the 5th District. While the 5th had to lose 7,000 residents, meeting attendees who lived within the borders of El Paso county strongly argued for keeping their county in a single district and giving up population elsewhere. El Paso County had five military bases, all at the time were in the 5th, as well as the United States Air Force Academy, making it America's only Congressional seat with such a military presence. Keeping all those installations in the 5th after redistricting wrapped up was seen by residents as vital to the area's economy and as a key way to maintain clout in Washington, DC.
Preserving the interests of the citizens and local communities among districts was also echoed by the Grand Junction based Club 20, a conservatively flavored citizen coalition concerned with the interest of the state's Western Slope. Again, when the panel went to Pueblo to hear from voters in the 3rd District, they heard strong preferences for staying separate from their northern neighbor, the 5th.. Aside from ongoing fights over water rights and military installations, meetings attendees discretely pointed to the undeniable racial and political differences between the respective cores of the 3rd and the 5th.
Republican redistricting bill
On Friday, March 4, 2011, majority House Republicans filed their first redistricting bill with a co-sponsor in the Senate, a bill that sought to bar lawmakers from considering any 'non-neutral' factors in redistricting and to treat the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts as communities of interest. The former criteria would make it illegal for politicians to consider such factors as partisan registration in drawing boundaries; the later would effectively make the massive spans of land that constituted Colorado's two overwhelmingly rural districts off limits for many redistricting scenarios.
In descending order of priority, the suggested criteria under the bill were:
Federally mandated criteria:
The specifics of HB 1276, introduced by Rep. J. Paul Brown and Sen. Ellen Roberts, meant it only applied if redistricting went to the courts, an eventuality that looked likely in 2011. Republicans, backed by the Club for Growth, said the bill only undoes what Democrats, then the majority party in the House, did at the end of the 2010 session. The Democratically sponsored bill referenced was one that ended the practice of treating the 3rd and 4th Congressional seats as communities of interest, and one the Dems maintain was itself needed to undo improper GOP legislation. Run through the legislature at the end of the previous session, the bill drew opposition from both the Western Slope based Club for Growth and the League of Women Voters, an alliance that, given the two groups political leanings, was extraordinarily unusual.
One Pueblo Democrat, Sal Pace, complained that the bill, if successful, would set up rules making six of the state's seven U.S. House seats into easily winnable Republican districts. He counterd the stated intent of HB 1276's sponsors, opining that by making sure rural areas are kept intact, the bill necessarily also kept large urban areas in single districts, something Pace said would increase the power of urban voters and wind up doing more harm to sparsely populated rural territory. Pace, along with other Democrats, faulted House Speaker Frank McNulty for allowing the introduction of a redistricting bill at what was a relatively late point in the session for such an action. Speaker McNulty had to, in fact, sign off to allow HB 1276 to be introduced as a 'delayed bill'.
Also of concern to Pace and his allies was the possibility that the southern city of Pueblo would be moved out of the 3rd District, the Congressional District that had always been Pueblo's home. Pueblo is a largely blue collar city that votes heavily Democratic, triggering concern from citizens that it might wind up redistricted in such a way as to negate their political preferences.
At a Republican political event in Denver on March 22, 2011, Speaker McNulty was asked about the storm over HB 1276 and answered that he, and House Republicans, weren't looking to "compromise" but fully believed they could find "common ground" with Democrats in the chamber.
That Pace was widely rumored to be laying the tracks of a 2012 bid for the 3rd Congressional seat factored into how legislators on both sides of the aisle received his criticisms.
Delayed redistricting bill
Despite promises from House leaders to have a map ready for public inspection during the week of April 11, 2011, an announcement the preceding weekend indicated the map might be delayed. At the center of the stand-off was the availability of 2010 election data.
Tension between Speaker Frank McNulty and Minority leader Sal Pace flared. Pace publicly speculated that Republicans were deliberately delaying and trying to find a way to use 2008 data over 2010 because 2008 voter participation reflected the Democratic surge for Obama's campaign and thus made it easy for the GOP to overstate Democratic registration and correspondingly shrink left-leaning seats. McNulty responded in an open two-letter than accused Pace of indulging in "partisan political rhetoric."
Faced with rumors that his concern over the border of the 3rd Congressional District was colored by his intention to seek the seat, Pace stated he was not a potential candidate for the seat and characterized McNulty's letter as "digs and nasty comments."
The two committee chairs, Democratic Senator Rollie Heath and Republican Representative David Balmer, also differed on the need to wait for 2010 numbers. However, the partisan split went the other way. Balmer complained that waiting for 2010 data was slowing down what had been an optimistic start to the committee's work while Health held that the 2010 election abstract was crucial.
Heath, however, also said the delay in getting those numbers for the Secretary of State's office had been problematic enough to cause him to write to Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, requesting help in getting Secretary of State Scott Gessler to provide the numbers.
Secretary Gessler's office responded that there was no intentional delay, but that pulling together the full election abstract was taking longer than anticipated, while also reminding lawmakers the secretary's office had until June 30, 2011 to provide the data set. On Saturday, April 2, 2011, the Secretary's office did deliver the data to the committee.
Gessler's immediate predecessor in the Secretary office, Democrat Bernie Buescher, also a former legislator, weighed in that compiling the full election abstract the Joint Committee requested would be a "monumental feat."
As of mid-April, the House was pushing its expected date to release a map back, from April 14, 2011 to April 24, 2011.
Quite simply, the attempt at bipartisanship started off on rocky ground and rapidly descended. The same day that maps were presented to the voters, officials on both side let their displeasure with various aspects be known.
The two major parties exchanged drafts of several maps at April's halfway point, with a hearing set for the afternoon of Friday, April 15th. Legislators were still hoping to have something done before sine die on May 11, 2011. Democratic maps were not all in, as the Democrats apparently used a software incompatible with that of the General Assembly and were unable to upload the images; the resulting criticism in local blogs augured poorly for any bipartisan consensus.
Many committee members declined to speak to press ahead of the maps' public release, though one Congressman, Mike Coffman, complained openly. His seat, the suburban 6th, grew faster than any other and had to, correspondingly, give up the most land. Coffman, however, found fault with Democratic plans for which areas to break off. Left-leaning Arapahoe County Democrat Morgan Carroll was seen as a possible 2012 challenger for the 6th seat, and any map that changed the GOP flavor of the 6th was bound to be decried as an improper bid to give the seat to Carroll. In an email sent to party activists across the state, Coffman charged that Democratic plans would, "take the voice away from everybody but urban, metro area Democrats."
Coffman's first public comment was to describe Democratically drawn maps as "blatantly partisan" and to point out how each proposed map by the Democratic party left his home outside his current district. Coffman, a career politician who had previously served in the House and the Senate and as both the Treasurer and Secretary of State, was thought to want a U.S. Senate seat. An easy re-election in a largely unchanged district would have allowed him several years to plan a challenge to the senior Senator for Colorado, Democrat Marc Udall, when the seat is elected again in 2014.
The two committee chairs, Rep. Balmer and Sen. Heath, both described their mood on the eve of the map exchange as "hopeful." That quickly disintegrated and the "kumbaya committee's" nickname was made farcical when each party got a look at the other side's maps.
Speaker McNulty blasted the Democratic map; "I'm extremely disappointed that the Democrats chose to submit partisan maps that draw lines for two of their members in the state Senate to run for Congress" McNulty's barb referenced Assembly members Brandon Shaffer and Morgan Carroll, a pair of Democrats widely held to be harboring Washington, DC dreams - dreams that involve unseating sitting Republican Congressmen.
Carroll went on the record and said she was absolutely not going to run for Congress while Shaffer labeled the allegation, "ridiculous and offensive." Other Democratic leaders, though, said none of their maps had been drawn to help Shaffer, the sitting Senate President, without actually commenting on the likeliness of a Congressional bid on his part. Carroll might have been to stick to her insistence, but Shaffer and Sal Pace suddenly found it difficult to deny they were soon-to-be Congressional candidates when the Minority Whip of the U.S. House, Steny Hoyer, publicly said both men were "committed" to running in 2012.
McNulty qualified earlier statements he, and many others in the GOP, made when Democrat Sal Pace led opposition to a Republican bill in the House that sought to amend redistricting guidelines. Pace had been tipped as a likely Congressional candidate, and his actions were painted as maneuvers to boost his campaign. McNulty later said, "I was probably wrong to question the minority leader’s political ambitions when we have a map that is clearly drawn to the benefit of Morgan Carroll and Brandon Shaffer."
After Hoyer's comments, Pace admitted that he was indeed running for the 3rd Congressional District and made his entry into the race official. Following Pace's announcement, Speaker McNulty averred that Pace had just concluded an end run around Shaffer, giving himself the best chance of having a district drawn to suit him by entering the race first. Pace made light of it, saying, "Frank won’t admit it, but he’ll miss me" and adding that he would solicit the Republican's endorsement for Congress.
Shaffer continued to insist he was undecided. The Colorado Republican tried to push Shaffer into making his intentions clear with a letter requesting that the Senator say one way or another if he was running, an action Shaffer condemned as "ridiculous." What he did say about Steny Hoyer's announcement was that, "I have a great deal of respect for Rep. Hoyer, but he doesn’t make decisions for my family," going on to tell press that his choice regarding a Congressional run would be made after a family vacation with consideration given to what would be best for his children.
In response to McNulty's comments, Shaffer painted lower-ranking Republicans as ."..agents of Frank McNulty" and accused the House Speaker of "blowing up bipartisan projects." The Speaker instead characterized it as an example Democratic displeasure at having lost control of the House. In his words, Shaffer .".. got his hand caught in the cookie jar. It’s no wonder he’s so upset. I understand the Senate president finds it difficult that there is a balance of power at the legislature these days, but his priorities are not our priorities."
The Senate President still declined to categorically say he was not planning a Congressional run.
Leading Democrats were equally sharp tongued. Rollie Heath branded the maps Republicans had submitted - five in total - as three drawn to serve the Speaker's interests and two that heavily reflected House Chair David Balmer's interests. "It was the committee we thought was drawing the maps...So I don't know who should be offended," he said.
Key partisan differences
At the start of 2011, Colorado's seven seats consisted of the capital city of Denver, four seats breaking up the metropolitan areas and the more densely populated mountain counties, and two enormous rural tracts.
The GOP made minimal changes, accepting that the 1st and 2nd would remain as strongholds, but also preserving the safe Republican seats and the competitive districts in existence.
The Democratic proposal was a radical departure. Under one of those plans, all seven districts would have had some portion of the seven-county 'Front Range', the demographically dense areas surrounding Denver. Such a proposal was unwelcome news to rural Coloradans, who perceived their political strength to lie in having Congressmen who truly do hail from the small towns dotting the plains and the Western Slope of the Rockies. Montrose Republican Don Coram, who represented a town on the very edge of the state, voiced concerns about Colorado having seven Congressmen living in the greater Denver area and representing people they knew nothing about: "I am looking at a map that more than likely would have seven congressmen living within a mile of DIA (Denver International Airport)."
Another rural lawmaker, Jerry Sonnenberg, brought up one of Colorado's perennial state issues - water. The growing demands of the increasing urban population and the requirements of the states farmers and ranchers clash endlessly. Sonnenberg expressed fears that hybrid districts would allow city dwellers to control the entire state's water use, and that allowing such control to “politically-powerful areas like Aurora would be a death blow to our agricultural communities…This is about water and it’s about our way of life.”
In setting up hybrid rural and urban seats, Democrats would have broken up the liberal 2nd District, removing some of its large mountain resort towns and thus allowing the seat to pick up the state's entire northwest span. Speaking of Democratic priorities, Heath listed keeping counties intact and following the I-70 corridor. Specific regional interest also included ensuring that Longmont and Boulder as well as Pueblo and Colorado Springs were separate and making sure Chaffee County was grouped with a mountain district.
While Dems produced maps that achieved that, and while the left-leaning tilt of Boulder and Pueblo explains why they wanted to be apart, respectively, from Longmont and Colorado Springs, there are other combinations that left the GOP widely unhappy.
The Boulder-based 2nd, by spreading all the way to the Utah border, would include deeply Republican Grand Junction. Douglas and El Paso, a pair of strongly socially conservative counties south of Denver, would be broken apart. And, in the immediate Denver suburbs, the very conservative southern suburbs would be bisected, with parts being attached to Denver-proper and to the far more blue collar Democrat turf in Adams County.
Democrats admitted the map was a radical departure, but said the state had drastically altered Congressional lines in the past and that population growth called for rethinking borders. Adopting an actual slogan for their redistricting fight, Democrats titled their maps, "City Integrity" 1-6.
For the Democrats, that meant keeping city boundaries intact and maximizing competitiveness, two things that were immediate sore spots for Republicans. Rural Colorado's lack of cities means a map largely designed to protect cities offer little to the farming and ranching population. The GOP was also quick to point out that "competitiveness" is not a legal requirement, whereas respecting "communities of interest" and minimal disruption to existing boundaries. Arguably, those two criterion fared poorly in draft maps.
It was not long before the op-ed pages began predicting redistricting would again be settled in the courts.
Second set of maps
A hearing on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 brought a shocking act of camaraderie. Specifically, the ten members of the Commission agreed to start fresh on a map and to draw it jointly.
Going into the three hour session, finger-pointing had dominated the exchange over the maps. GOP members proclaimed that Democrats had deliberately ignored the requests of rural voters, Democrats held that Republican maps stripped Hispanics of meaningful representation, and the press showed up to cover what looked set to be very long and very fruitless squabble.
Republicans went to the mat of keeping bright-red El Paso County intact, and Democrats allowed that they might consider the idea. Don Coram, who had previously been up in arms over maps that linked urban and rural areas, was in a better mood at the hearing, telling Democrats, "We’re just a different breed of cat. We love you, but we don’t want you representing us in Washington."
By the end of the hearing, both parties had agreed to throw out all 11 maps and start fresh. Said House Chair David Balmer, "I suggested we start with a white map because I was concerned that we had become too polarized." By then, the likely battle lines were already evident; Democrats refused to give up on "competitiveness" and Republicans refused to consider partisan registration as a factor.
Whether the competitiveness of seats played into the new maps remained a point of contention. Democrat Morgan Carroll said, "Competitiveness is our starting point" while Greg Brophy, a Republican went back to the fact that the competitiveness of seats is not a requirement. He added, "I think that we have already established that Colorado is, by its nature, competitive and that competitiveness is not part of the criteria that we are supposed to be taking into account in the redrawing of these seats."
Democrats also complained that Republicans were less than forthcoming on the reasoning behind their maps, insisting on detailed explanations and justifications from Democrats for their maps but not returning the courtesy. Said Dan Pabon, "I feel like a kid on Christmas morning waiting to see what the package was."
Rollie Heath adjourned on Wednesday evening without having anything solid and Heath planned meetings with ranking members of the legislation to ask for an extension. Instead, the entire legislature adjourned for the Easter weekend.
The original timeline had aimed to deliver recommendations to leaders in both legislative houses by Thursday, the 21st, a deadline that went up in smoke as Thursday's meeting stretched past the four hour mark. Commission members openly argued over allowing testimony from the assembled audience but never did take any input. Rep. Balmer went into such detail on his two maps that he carefully explained the different apportionment of a grocery store. That Frank McNulty had added several maps of his own to those drawn largely by Balmer, ostensibly the House Chair for redistricting, was read in the press as Balmer having been effectively stripped of his control over the committee. Balmer's own comments about McNulty's maps, specifically that he had never seen them when they were first posted in the committee room, solidified such ideas.
While Democrats gave some credit to Balmer's maps as sincere attempts at a realistic and workable negotiation, McNulty's maps remained unpopular outside his own party. Both Morgan Carroll and Rollie Heath also told media outlets they felt there was no point on continuing to work with Republicans on the Select Committee; for them it was a foregone conclusion that McNulty had revoked whatever authority Balmer had. Heath said he would instead consider introducing two versions of the Democratic map in the Senate. For the Senator, any possibility of a compromise through the Joint Select Committee was gone; "The committee ended Friday (the 22nd of April), so we have no authority to have any more meetings."
The state's Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, said he had not yet seen a map he would veto, but he also signaled which side he was leaning toward when he praised "competitiveness," telling media, "It makes people want to vote. It makes people want to run. The more competitive the districts the better off we are." However, actual authority to push back the deadline would have to come from Senate President Brandon Shaffer and House Speaker Frank McNulty, neither of whom immediately cleared the joint committee to continue working. McNulty, however, indicated he wasn't yet ready to give up on the committee.
On the Senate side, there was bipartisan support for extending the time allotted to the committee, with both Majority Leader John Morse and his Minority counterpart, Mike Kopp, publicly favoring a new deadline for the maps. Republicans took a blow in the court of public opinion when one of their own, Wray Senator Greg Brophy admitted GOP maps had been "tweaked" to serve Republican interests, and defended that admission by saying it was necessary to overplay at the outset in order to gain room for negotiation.
Both parties could agree on two things; the city of Pueblo needed to be in the same district as the San Luis Valley and Denver needed to remain intact. Public opinion, for its part, seemed to favor more serious work at a legislative map before turning the mess over the courts in a cringe-inducing repeat of 2001.
In nearly every district, someone was upset over proposed changes. The radical departures from the 112th Congress proposed by Democrats naturally did not sit well with Republicans. In the 6th, an affluent GOP seat covering the southern suburbs, the fact that the "City Integrity" maps would have cut the area in half and added much of it to the more Democratic northern suburbs in Adams County provoked anger.
Also, the suggestion to extend the 2nd all the way to the Utah line disappointed Republican voters in Summit and Eagle Counties who had hoped to rejoin the 3rd. Coloradans who felt they had more in common with the Western Slope than with Boulder accounted not just for people hoping to be drawn out of the 2nd but some who never wanted to be drawn in. Specifically, Mesa County and its county seat, Grand Junction, were part of the vast 3rd District and were not pleased when it was suggested they become part of the 2nd.
Echoing Mesa, Garfield County leaders reiterated the request not to be part of the 2nd. The county's Republican Party Chair, Ron Roesner, voiced a common sentiment in the state, saying, "The Western Slope does not belong with anybody on the Eastern Slope. That Continental Divide should be the dividing line of the state, period." An editorial published in Glenwood Springs touched on the history of the 3rd District, holding that it been as likely to elect a Democrat as a Republican during its existence and that it had very little in common with any part of the Front range.
Estes Park, a resort town in Larimer County, also resisted any plan that would put them in the same district as Boulder. Overall, facing seeing their entire county split in two, Larimer residents had no wish to be represented by a "Boulder Democrat or a Grand Junction Republican." Within days, Estes Park made their displeasure official, when the town's board unanimously passed Resolution 06-11, urging mapmakers to keep them in Larimer County, and tacitly making it clear they did not want to share a seat with Boulder. Another group, calling itself "Progressive 15," denounced Democratic maps as a poor choice for 15 of the state's rural counties. That was a common sentiment across the Western Slope; while someone had to share a district with Boulder, few communities wanted to.
Colorado's Republican Party rounded up editorials from a slew of rural news papers to drive home the point that the "City Integrity" plan had limited appeal outside Denver. Right-wing bastions of the state echoed that. A townhall in Colorado Springs, seat of El Paso County and major city of the 5th Congressional District, saw emotional citizens rage at a perceived gutting of their district. With five military bases in the district, the 5th holds the national record for military installations and voters wanted to keep it that way. Addressing a Democratic plan to move two bases into the 3rd, one attendee roared, "They drew something like they’re on LSD..."
Preserving El Paso County enjoyed some legal backing. Judge Coughlin, who drew the final maps after the protracted 2001 process, opined, "“It is clear when you take into consideration the military and their dependents at these five military facilities, along with the large number of military retirees in El Paso County, that there exists a large segment of the people of El Paso County with community interest revolving around the military...For this reason, it is imperative that El Paso County not be split." Months later, the in upholding Coughlin's ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed that the 5th District could be treated as a community of interest.
Democrats held that splitting up the five bases in the district would make Colorado's military installations the concern of more than one Congressman and increase the benefit to servicemen; the GOP line was that precisely by having so many bases in one Congressman's seat, that Congressman got enough attention in Washington to be an effective advocate.
By then, media had turned to imagining the looming court drawn map and to roundly chastising the entire Joint Committee, who, ."..had a chance and blew it" At least one paper editorialized in favor of using the Democratic map as the basis of a compromise. Some lawmakers still held out hope for a legislative map in the waning days of the session.
Congressional maps after the Committee
On Thursday, April 28, 2011, Democrats introduced one of their maps, "City Integrity 4," and immediately saw it panned by Republicans. It still put Grand Junction into the same seat as Boulder, something that increasingly looked to be a non-starter. Sponsored by Rollie Heath, SB11-268 was properly the first actual map to be introduced to the legislature. Numbers based on the 2010 election rolls and provided by the Legislative Council for the vastly reconfigured rural 3rd and 4th seats were given as 27.76% D, 38.46% R, and 33.55% other in the 4th; and as 30.98%, 41.70%, and 26.66%, respectively, in the 3rd.
Moved to the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which Heath chaired, SB268 was assured of making it at least past the first round. Dan Pabon carried the bill in the House, but without massive changes it was unlikely to get enough Republican buy-in to survive the lower chamber. Speaker McNulty flatly called it a "cynical ploy" and labeled Democrats' behavior as "an insult to the law." That map was eventually pulled.
Republicans followed with their own map on May 3, 2011, something they called the "olive branch." Pueblo Democrat Sal Pace retorted, "They extend the olive branch, and then they burn it and they hit us with it." Their map kept El Paso and Douglas Counties intact and in the same seat, put most of Aurora in the 6th - a possible concession, and kept Longmont in the 4th. The very next day, Democrats released a new map of their own, one that differed remarkably from their first set of plans. El Paso was kept intact and the 5th District retained all of its military bases, but several seats had pairings of counties that still left Republicans upset.
That map, the "Colorado Compromise," also gave the GOP some of what it wanted in the Eastern Plains and on the Western Slope, but not enough for McNulty to agree to come to the table. One immediately obvious sticking point was that the new map took the Boulder-based 2nd, the seat once proposed to sweep out to the Utah border and fold unwilling Western slop residents and the GOP friendly city of Grand Junction into Jared Polis' seat, was redrawn to curve south around Denver and include Douglas County, another Republican stronghold and an area not likely to cotton to the idea of sharing a Congressional voice with Boulder.
The maps went to their first public hearings on May 5, 2011, with the GOP map heard at 2:00 pm and the senate map following at 3:00 pm. By then, the mood between Frank McNulty and Brandon Shaffer was so icy that when a reporter asked the former if he could say anything kind about the latter, the House Speaker finally replied that the Senate President was..."a snappy dresser." At that point, the legislature retained the right to call themselves into a special session, and Governor Hickenlooper could do the same. However, the governor's office was vague on where Hickenlooper was leaning. The Governor did, however, start the day with a closed-door meeting with McNulty and Shaffer. A spokesman for the governor later said the meeting was "in good faith" and refused to describe it any further.
Looking back on the failed Joint Select Committee, both sides had unkind words. Greg Brophy held that, "They had no intention of negotiating in good faith with us. It appears to me that all the public hearings, all the talk about listening to the people, it was all a ruse." Democrats, though, still held they had sought and were still looking for a compromise. The early line on the nearly-certain court battle noted that state Supreme Court's dominance by left-leaning Democratic appointees, though at least one pundit pointed out that the GOP could win give the court's historical reticence to make massive changes to maps.
Citizens testifying had unkind words for lawmakers' behavior. Touching on the litany of courts, competitiveness, and 'communities of interest', one Colorado man told the assembled legislators he had a C-word of his own for them, and then told them to "cut the crap." Republican residents of GOP strongholds, who wanted very much to remain in solidly red districts, also assailed the "competitiveness" mantra of the Democrats. One Douglas County man testified, "Your competitive map, as you call it, is not competitive. It's neutralizing what is a pain in your tush — the Republicans."
Realistically, given the minimum length a bill needs to work through the legislature, Tuesday, the 10th of May, was the last day to introduce a bill with any hope of passing it by the end of the session. Both committees passed their bills on party line votes, but neither map had much hope in the hands of the opposite chamber. Fashioning a compromise in 72 hours was not historically unheard-of in Colorado, and leaders in both parties publicly insisted the chances for such a map were very much alive as the legislature began its last week.
May 10th brought no agreement. That afternoon, Senate Democrats killed the last bill left standing, with Brandon Shaffer slamming it as "blatantly gerrymandered." Earlier in the day, Republicans had mounted a filibuster, one that bought only a reprieve as HB 1319 soon died on a 3-2 party line vote in the Senate State Affairs Committee.
The GOP began the filibuster under Senator Mike Kopp, moving to read the entirety of the 73 page redistricting bill. Democrats played right along, moving all GOP bills to the end of the calendar. Republicans withdrew the motion after Democrats agreed to an afternoon hearing on the bill and both Kopp and Greg Brophy said they would be willing to give Democrats 80% of what they wanted if HB 1319 made it before the Senate Committee. That didn't happen and the war of words between Shaffer and McNulty became legislative redistricting's last words.
For 2011, legislative districts needed to hit population targets of 142,691 and 77,372 for the Senate and House, respectively. The 11 members of the Reapportionment Commission began working in May 2011, with public hearings set for June. Their schedule was unforgiving: preliminary maps due by September 5th and maps ready for Supreme Court review by October 7th with a final deadline of December 14th. Commission members warned Coloradans not to expect anything earlier than the deadline, meaning only 19 working days would remain between the maps finalization and its first use, in the 2012 caucuses. As a first step, the Commission broke Colorado into six regions to form the basis of legislative districts.
Most, least populated legislative districts
The most and least populated districts were as follows. Overpopulated districts had to shed territory, and thus population, to underpopulated districts.
House (Target pop. = 77,372)
Senate (Target pop. = 142,691)
Commission adopts plan for Fort Collins
The Reapportionment Commission voted 6-5 to adopt new district lines for the Fort Collins. The plan, proposed by state Democrats, gave Fort Collins two additional house districts. The five Republican members of the commission strongly opposed the plan, calling it "sloppy," "unconstitutional," and "unnecessary." In particular, Republicans took exception to the splitting of municipalities.
Commission approved preliminary maps
In order to draft the state's new legislative maps, the Colorado Reapportionment Commission divided the state into seven regions, adopting plans for each region separately. On July 18, the commission adopted plans for the last region, completing the process of selecting preliminary maps.
Some Democrats, like former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, criticized the plans and Republican commissioners. Webb argued that Republicans abused the goals of political competitiveness and minority districts by selectively applying these standards. Under the House plan, Democrats could have seen several presently-Democratic districts weakened, including Districts 3, 11, 26, and 50. However, Commissioner Matt Jones (D) argued that the maps represented a consensus on the commission, with each chamber's plan receiving some degree of bi-partisan support.
On August 4, 2011, the Colorado Reapportionment Commission held the first public hearing to gather input on the process. The Commission went to 20 total cities to hear from citizens.
Carrera's competitive map
After reviewing maps proposed by Republicans and Democrats, Commission Chairman Mario Carrera, the only unaffiliated member, announced on September 12 that he would submit his own maps. Criticizing how the other proposals divided up Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, he said, "I am working feverishly to make sure that we have a map that can be a consolidation of both Republican and Democratic considerations."
Carrera submitted his maps on September 14, explaining that they would make 11 Senate seats and 22 House seats competitive, of those 33, 17 would be "highly competitive." Additionally, under his proposal 24 of the 100 legislative districts would have at least 30 percent Hispanic voters.
On September 19 the Commission voted to pass Carrera's maps of state legislative districts. Speaker of the House Frank McNulty (R) stated, "The House map approved by the reapportionment commission today falls short of the bar of being a fair map for all Coloradans. It is, however, better than the partisan map adopted by Democrats 10 years ago."
Democrats unanimously passed both maps, while two Republicans voted against the Senate map and three voted against the House map. The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments on the newly proposed districts on November 9. Finalized maps were to be submitted by December 14.
Rejected by the court
The Colorado Supreme Court rejected the new House and Senate maps on November 15 by a vote of 4-2, stating they were not "sufficiently attentive to county boundaries." The maps then went back to the Reapportionment Commission who had to resubmit new maps by December 6.
Republican chairman Ryan Call praised the decision, stating, "The State Supreme Court’s decision today validates what Colorado Republicans have been arguing all along -- that the Reapportionment Commission must first look to keeping counties boundaries whole before looking to non-constitutional criteria in drawing district boundaries."
New plans approved
The redistricting panel resumed efforts on November 28 to rework the new legislative maps. The following day the commission voted to approve Democratic-drawn proposals for new House and Senate districts. Republicans criticized the new proposals for forcing a number of GOP incumbents into the same districts, while Democrats said it was an unfortunate outcome of trying to minimize county splits.
On December 12, the state Supreme Court approved the Democratic-drawn maps, which Republicans criticized as "politically vindictive." Under the new maps, there were seven instances where Republican incumbents were drawn into the same district. Most notably among these were House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman. Democrats pointed out that incumbents in their party woulld also have to potentially face one another in 2012, but that only occured in three instances.
A total of 38 out of the 100 legislative seats were considered to be competitive, with 24 in the House and 14 in the Senate. 60 seats were considered to be safe - 35 for Republicans and 25 for Democrats.
Major parties file lawsuits
Both major parties filed suit as the legislative session came to an end. In each case, a well known attorney and a group of plaintiffs representing each party in the state seven Congressional district filed the case. Mark Grueskin, a Denver based attorney with substantial experience litigating for progressive political causes, filed the Democratic case. For the GOP, Ryan Westfall took the lead.
Even that did not go smoothly, as, of Denver's 24 federal district court judges, the one randomly assigned to the redistricting suit, William Hood, once worked at the same law firm as Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin. Speculation over what that would mean for the looming case was immediate and rampant.
Judge Hood had the power either to consider maps that failed to clear the legislature or to order that new ones be drawn. Publicly, advocates of an independent redistricting commission renewed their criticisms and Republican legislators openly speculated that Democrats had deliberately run the process to ground in order to put redistricting before left-leaning courts. Columnist Mike Rosen publicly called on Governor Hickenlooper to call a special session and preserve redistricting as a legislative enterprise.
The Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and the Colorado Latino Forum joined the lawsuit, saying they wanted to be able to review the proposed maps to see if they diluted the Hispanic vote prior to releasing their own proposals. Attorney for the Democrats Mark Grueskin opposed the motion, saying all groups should have to release proposed maps on the same date.
Lawsuits consolidated, date set
Ultimately both redistricting cases were consolidated under Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt. At the beginning of June, Hyatt set a trial date of Monday, October 17, 2011. He told both sides, represented by counsel at the hearing, "However long it takes we can accommodate you. That’s not meant to encourage you."
Secretary of State Scott Gessler had the ignominious distinction of being named in both lawsuits--Deputy AG Maurice Knaizer represented him. In addition, the entire matter went forward without the benefits of HB 1276, J. Paul Brown's bill offering judicial guidelines on redistricting, as the bill never got before the Senate before the session ran out.
Deadline for lawsuit maps set
As the redistricting lawsuit moved forward, Judge Robert Hyatt ordered both major parties to submit their redistricting proposals by August 22. Groups that joined the lawsuit later had until September 2. The trial was set for October 17, 2011.
Parties release maps
Democrats and Republicans both filed their plans for new congressional maps in court on August 22. Republicans stressed continuity, saying their map, which they called “Minimum Disruption,” made the least amount of changes possible. The Democrats’ proposal, on the other hand, pushed for competitive districts, sometimes even to the detriment of Democratic incumbents.
President of the Senate Brandon Shaffer announced his run for the 4th Congressional District in July. Under the Democratic proposal his hometown would have moved into the 2nd District, which was then represented by fellow Democrat Jared Polis. Shaffer pushed for his party's plan, but with the hope that his hometown remained in the 4th. “It’s impossible to predict what a court will ultimately decide, but I’m confident we’ll end up with a map that’s fair and competitive. I believe that means Longmont will remain in the 4th Congressional District,” he said.
Democrats accused Republicans of attempting to simply retain the status quo with their map, hurting voters in the process, while Republicans said Democrats opposed the very maps they submitted 10 years ago because the math changed in favor of the GOP.
Other redistricting plans
The Latino Forum and Colorado Hispanic Bar Association submitted a proposal on September 2, the deadline for groups that joined the suit. Their map took the San Luis Valley and Pueblo areas from the 4th Congressional District and put Larimer County into the Boulder district. Additionally, Denver and Adams County cities would have constituted a district.
Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut submitted two maps - both put Pueblo with the Western Slope, while one divided Denver into three districts and the other kept the current boundaries. He stated, "I thought it was important to have a voice from Pueblo and southern Colorado in a case dominated by a throng of well-financed litigants from both political parties and special-interest groups."
Arguments in the case began in Denver District Court on October 11. Republicans insisted that Democrats were attempting to move 1.5 million voters into new districts to pick up additional congressional seats, while Democrats argued the makeup of the state significantly changed since district lines were drawn ten years previously. The court considered a half dozen maps.
Western Slope lobby and promotional group Club 20, with support of Progressive 15 and Action 22, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. Club 20 submitted a map that focused on the preservation of rural communities of interest in Western, Northern and Southern Colorado.
Attorneys delivered their closing remarks in the case on October 31. Attorney Gina Rodriguez, representing the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and the Colorado Latino Forum, attacked maps from both Republicans and Democrats as fostering partisan interests and failing to take Hispanic communities of interest into account.
Democratic lawyer Mark Grueskin asked the judge to dismiss the map presented by the Latino groups for being race-based and, thus, unconstitutional. Republican lawyer Richard Westfall criticized the Democratic map for joining communities based on current issues while ignoring historical links between communities.
Democratic map approved
In a ruling issued November 10, Judge Hyatt decided in favor of the "Moreno/South" Democratic map, stating it "most accurately reflected and preserved current communities of interest in 2011."
Hyatt went on to say "the Moreno approach to redistricting Colorado will also produce the maximum amount of competition of any of the realistically proffered maps in at least three districts — the 3rd, the 6th and the 7th" and "not only does the Moreno mapping approach reflect Colorado's current communities of interest, it holds the real possibility that voters will be as engaged in the electoral process as possible."
The court heard arguments on December 1.
On December 5, the state Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, dismissing the argument that the map divided too many counties into multiple districts. This effectively put the Democrats' map in place. The court said a written opinion would be issued at a later date.
The new map put Aurora into its own congressional district, split Douglas County and added Larimer County to the Boulder district. As a result, Colorado was expected to have at least three competitive races in 2012. Included among these was incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R), who was moved out of a safely Republican district into one that could go either way.
Independent Commission legislation
Thorton Democratic Representative Edward Casso announced on May 20, 2011 that he would sponsor legislation in 2012 to turn Congressional redistricting over to an independent commission. If successful, his legislation would earn supermajorities in both chambers and be referred to the General Election Ballot in 2012.
Speaker Frank McNulty and Senate President Brandon Shaffer, fresh from eviscerating one another in the press, were both cool. McNulty said he did not feel the process itself was flawed while Shaffer declined to comment.
|Colorado 2010 Redistricting Timeline|
|Early 2011||Committee conducts hearings around the state to get public input.|
|February 22-25, 2011||Detailed U.S. Census data are released for Colorado.|
|April 14, 2011||Committee report is due to the Legislature.|
|April 15, 2011||General Assembly must name its Reapportionment Commission members for state legislative districts|
|April 25, 2011||Governor Hickenlooper must name his Reapportionment Commission members.|
|May 5, 2011||The Colorado Supreme Court must review legislative and executive members of the Reapportionment Commission and name its own members.|
|May 11, 2011||The General Assembly adjourns sine die. Deadline for Congressional redistricting legislation.|
|May 15, 2011||Governor convenes commission.|
|Summer 2011||Potential special session.|
|September 5, 2011||Preliminary legislative plan due.|
|October 7, 2011||Final legislative plan submitted to Supreme Court for approval.|
|March 15, 2012||Final deadline for Congressional maps.|
Ahead of the General Assembly convening in 2011, the state legislature announced a ten-member Joint Select Committee, equally comprised of legislators from both major parties, to tour the state and gather feedback from citizens on Congressional redistricting. Colorado's House Speaker, Frank McNulty, (R), and Senate President, Brandon Shaffer, (D) were each charged with naming three members; the Minority Leaders of each Chamber named two designees, each. An initial deadline of April 14, 2011 was set for the Committee to report back to the legislature.
After the 2000 process, when Colorado gained a seventh Congressional seat, the redistricting process devolved into a bitter fight and wound up lingering in court until 2003, when a State Supreme Court decision upheld a map drawn by the courts.
The decision to have a commission was squarely meant to prevent a recurrence of this problem. It was left to the commission's discretion to recommend specific new districts or to simply file a report on voter preferences. Additionally, a 2010 state legislative decision expanded the judicial branch's discretion in playing its role in redistricting.
The commission met with praise from both sides of the aisles at Colorado's State Capitol and representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties agreed to serve as co-chair for the project. Under the U.S. Census Bureau's plan to deliver state level data, Colorado was not scheduled to receive information until late February or March of 2011, meaning the commission's early schedule focused on listening trips around the state.
Going into the process of redrawing boundaries for Colorado's seat in Congress, two Districts in particular stuck as having marked political unevenness. The First District, covering the City and County of Denver, was a nearly unassailable Democratic stronghold. Similarly, the Fifth, centered around Colorado Springs, simply belong to the GOP.
While some concentrations of like-minded voters make it exceedingly difficult to draw truly competitive districts, rural states like Colorado also see the issue of drawing enormous districts to account for sparsely populated stretches of land. One such case in Colorado is the 3rd District, a 55,000 square mile behemoth that covers the Western half of the states. That district's failure to grow as rapidly as the rest of the states meant the 2011 process would involve shifting land into the 3rd.
Detailed Census results did confirm the 3rd needed to gain over 12,000 residents to be balanced again. The first redistricting meeting to be held after the Census Bureau delivered that data was in Loveland, a city that could easily fall into the 2nd or the 3rd Congressional seat after 2011's work is done. Those same results confirmed that El Paso County, anchored by the city of Colorado Springs and the heart of the conservative 5th Congressional District, had surpassed the City and County of Denver as the largest of Colorado's 64 counties.
Partisan Registration by District
|Partisan Registration and Representation by Congressional District, 2010|
|Congressional District||Republicans||Democrats||Unaffiliated||District Total||Party Advantage*||111th Congress||112th Congress|
|1 (Denver)||44,724||114,766||54,393||213,883||156.61% Democratic|
|2 (Boulder)||79,426||107,051||80,171||266,648||34.78% Democratic|
|3 (Western Slope)||113,233||89,680||64,627||267,540||26.26% Republican|
|4 (Eastern Plains)||118,407||75,757||75,480||269,644||56.29% Republican|
|5 (Colorado Springs)||126,486||53,131||59,401||239,018||138.06% Republican|
|6 (Southern Denver Suburbs)||166,036||91,644||88,007||345,687||81.17% Republican|
|7 (Northern Denver Suburbs)||74,360||82,550||59,122||216,032||11.01% Democratic|
|State Totals||722,672||614,579||481,201||1,818,452||17.59% Republican||5 D, 2 R||3 D, 4 R|
|*The partisan registration advantage was computed as the gap between the two major parties in registered voters.|
Of interest looking at the figures the commission had to work with, in the First and Second Districts, both dominated by Democrats, unaffiliated and Independent voters outnumber Republicans. The opposite is true in the Fifth, where Democrats were the least represented bloc of voters in 2010.
In two other Districts, the Fourth and Sixth, Democrats were quite close to becoming the third party behind unaffiliated voters.
2000 Census and Legal Battle
The court battles that resulted from the 2000 Census essentially began when a Republican controlled House and Democratic Senate could not agree on a redistricting map. The awarding of a 7th Congressional seat certainly did not help ease the fight. At the end of the first round, a District Court Judge in Denver decided legislators had not done their job and, in 2002, drew his own map.
Republicans held the House and gained the Senate in 2002. With bicameral control of the General Assembly, in 2003 they rejected the Judge's plan and drew their own fresh map, saying the state Constitution gives the legislature sole authority to draw redistricting maps. That map came to be known among Democrats as "the midnight gerrymander." Irate Democrats built their legal appeal around the fact that Republicans had arguably redistricted twice in one decade.
At that point, the matter went to the Courts (Lance v. Dennis, 05-555), who upheld the Judge's map (In Re Reapportionment of Colorado General Assembly, 45 P. 3rd 1237 (2002) and 46 P. 3rd 1083 (2002) ). The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal and the result was that Colorado essentially functioned for a decade under a judicially drawn set of district boundaries. Charges of legislating from the bench never entirely died out and the legislature was left anxious to avoid a repeat.
2001 brings one special session, two lawsuits, two dozen maps
Still waiting for detailed information from the U.S. Census in early May 2001, then Governor Bill Owens advised the legislature to anticipate a special session. Aware of the cost, lawmakers looked for ways to avoid meeting over the summer. At one point, Democrats brought a lawsuit asking the Courts to take over drawing the map; Senate President Stan Matsunaka publicly urged them to withdraw, citing his support for Gov. Owens' special session plan. Democrats would only agree to stay the case if a special session were formally called. In early July, a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators began meeting to draw preliminary maps. Around the state, other coalitions got to work on proposals for their own regions.
By the end of August, the Democratic Party's lawsuit was still going forward and Senate Dems, under President Pro Tem Ed Perlmutter, declined to interfere. Legal counsel for Gov. Owens, citing that September 20, 2001 had already been set as the beginning of the special session, called the lawsuit moot. Both parties also aired grievances over the makeup of the Reapportionment Commission. Democrats decried the gubernatorial appointment of Alan Philip as a full-time staffer and Republicans criticized Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey for choosing Democrats with all four of her appointment to the Commissions.
In the first week of the special session, House Republicans gave a preliminary nod to six bills outlining Congressional maps. Minority Democrats, however, found only one acceptable, a proposal that put the new Congressional seat Colorado had gained in the state's southeast. While it may have seemed like a start, just as the House adjourned for the weekend, three Republicans filed a lawsuit asking for the same things the Democrats' still pending case sought - to have Federal judges draw the maps. In bringing the case, the plaintiffs cited a belief that the legislature would simply never get the job done.
The following week, SB 20 got preliminary Senate approval and won some praise from both chambers. Still, all maps to emerge from the House were seen as problematically favorable to the GOP. Both chambers did approve the bill, but in very different forms. Initially, lawmakers intended to work through the night of October 5, 2001 before tabling everything until the regular session sat the following January. Instead, the entire special session ended in an abrupt adjournment with nothing decided. With two lawsuits already filed and assigned to judges, all parties focused on their battle plans for court. At the end of October, the Attorney General at the time, Ken Salazar, recused himself from a suit naming Governor Owens as a defendant. Salazar was already defending Secretary of State Donetta Davidson in one suit and felt a conflict of interest was possible. To defend the Governor, Denver attorney Rob Witwer was appointed.
Around the same time, the Democrats' lawsuit was assigned a trial date of December 17, 2001, with a November 26, 2001 deadline to offer maps for consideration. Judge John Coughlin also stated he would not rule until January 25, 2002, giving the General Assembly time to convene. By month's end, nearly every elected official of any rank in Colorado and both major parties were fielding legal teams.
While Coughlin rejected a motion to remove the trial to Federal court, the Colorado Reapportionment Commission continued working on plans and, on November 20, 2001, voted 10-1 on a plan for House seats. The Senate plan went less smoothly, causing anxiety over the CRC's December 7, 2001 deadline to present a complete plan to Colorado Supreme Court, but it was approved, in what was editorialized as a 6-5 "partisan snit." The CRC also made a 7-4 decision to allow Senate Republicans to submit their own map as a minority report.
Meanwhile, Governor Owens finalized and filed his personal proposal for a plan as part of the Democratic lawsuit set to go to trial the following month. At the end of the 30 day window to submit proposals, Coughlin's case had 19 maps to consider, 13 from the GOP. Between the pending case brough by Democrats and the CRC plan before the state Supreme Court, the Judge handling the second lawsuit brought by Republicans declined to set a date, deferring to the already calendared case. On the first day of that trial, Governor Owens testified, and he used the opportunity to remind all involved that he held veto power. The gubernatorial criteria required minimal change to existing Congressional districts, a unified Western Slope and San Luis Valley seat, and an intact Denver district - the last being a potential concession to the capital city's powerful mayor. For his part, Coughlin indicated he would choose a complete map rather than incur the time and expense of combining multiple partial maps submitted for the trial.
Assembly fails to pass a bill, Judge rules, everyone appeals
In the new year, Republicans produced four maps in the first two days of the session and were on the clock to pass a bill before Judge Coughlin's January 25, 2002 ruling was due. Senate Democrats, in the chamber they dominated, brought forward no new maps, saying they would compromise on something they liked from the House or take their chances in court.
The House did pass HB 1001, but no one would carry it in the upper chamber and Senate Democrats let the clock run out. As promised, Judge Coughlin took over, choosing a Democratic compromise to a Republican bill, thus setting the new 7th District in Denver's northern suburbs. Soon after, the GOP won their own legal victory when the Democratically dominated state Supreme Court rejected the CRC's map of Senate seats and ordered a new proposal, one that paid more attention to existing county lines, by February 15, 2002. Within the week, both decisions were appealed.
Colorado got through the 2002 midterms, and Republicans emerged with a new majority in the Senate. Those numbers got put to work at the end of the session as Republican Senators introduced yet another Congressional map. They justified it by arguing that the state's Constitution reserved the right to redistrict to the legislature, thereby making the previous year's judicial decision irrelevant. Having spent May 5, 2003 delaying the inevitable, furious Democrats physically walked out of the chamber shortly before midnight, leaving the GOP to pass SB 352 on a party line vote. A renewed court battle was a given and the Democratic Attorney General preemptively announced he would not defend the GOP's plan. Governor Owens, however, promised his signature. Introduced on Monday, passed on Wednesday, and signed on Friday, Colorado had a fresh Congressional map.
The law took effect immediately and Democrats filed suit immediately, pointing out that voters across the state were now represented by people they never even had a chance to vote for. Attorney General Salazar compounded the drama by suing Secretary of State Davidson and asking the Colorado Supreme Court to order her not to enforce the new map. Davidson filed a motion to force Salazar to drop the suit, arguing it was his duty to defend state officers. The motion was quickly dismissed and Salazar was soon joined by 44 other Attorneys General, who all backed his right to sue a fellow state official, arguing that his first duty was to the citizens. On December 1, 2003, the state's highest court threw out the Republican's SB-352 map, finding GOP Senators had violated the state Constitution by drawing maps twice for one redistricting cycle.
The following January, Republicans appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the lower court's ruling and to freeze Colorado's districts as the Republican legislature had last left them, pending a decision. Almost immediately, the Supremes rejected the request for a freeze on districts, meaning the 2004 election would be held with the map that came out of Judge Coughlin's January 2002 decision. In early June of 2004, the Court refused to hear the case, with Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting (Colorado General Assembly v. Salazar). Just over three years late, Colorado had completed its redistricting.
Deviation from "Ideal Districts"
|2000 Population Deviation|
|State House Districts||4.88%|
|State Senate Districts||4.95%|
|Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.|
- Avalos v. Davidson, No. 01 CV 2897 (Dist. Ct. Denver Co. Jan. 25, 2002), aff’d sub nom. Beauprez v. Avalos, No. 02SC87, 42 P.3d 642 (Colo. Mar. 13, 2002) (en banc) : filed when the Colorado Legislature adjourned since die in 2001 without completing redistricting, arguing waiting until the 2002 Assembly would leave inadequate time and asking the Courts to take over the process
- Martinez v. Matsunaka, No. 01-Z-1900 (D. Colo., amended complaint filed Oct. 12, 2001) : amended the named defendant from the Secretary of State to the Governor and the General Assembly
- In re Reapportionment of the Colorado General Assembly, No. 01SA386 (Colo. Jan. 28, 2002) : in which the Colorado Supreme Court rejected the Colorado Reapportionment Commission's plan for state Senate seats, on the grounds on insufficient attention paid to existing county boundaries
- In re Reapportionment of the Colorado General Assembly, No. 01SA386, 45 P.3d 1237 (Colo. Feb. 22, 2002) : the resubmitted and approved map
- Keller v. Davidson, No. 03 CV 3452 (Denver District Court filed May 9, 2003) : in which plaintiffs sued over the legislature's May 29, 2003 decision to draw new Congressional boundaries
- People ex rel. Salazar v. Davidson, No. 03SA133 and Davidson v. Salazar, No. 03SA147, 79 P.3d 1221 (Colo. Dec. 1. 2003) (en banc), cert. denied, Colorado General Assembly v. Salazar, No. 03-1082, 541 U.S. 1093 (June 7, 2004) : in which the Attorney General sued the Secretary of State to block enforcement of the SB-352 map
- Keller v. Davidson, No. 03-Z-1482 (CBS) (D. Colo. Sept. 25, 2003) : in which a Federal district court deferred proceedings pending the outcome of Salazar
- Keller v. Davidson, No. 03-Z-1482 (CBS), 299 F. Supp. 2d 1171 (D. Colo. Jan. 23, 2004) : in which the Colorado Supreme Court found that the General Assembly violated Article I, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution in taking up redistricting again after a Court had ruled on a map.
- Colorado General Assembly v. Salazar, No. 03-1082, 541 U.S. 1093 (June 7, 2004) : in which the U.S. Supreme Court decline to grant acertiori in Salazar
- Keller v. Davidson, No. 03-Z-1482 (CBS), 2004 WL 2359556 (D. Colo. Oct. 15, 2004) : in which the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Keller
- Lance v. Davidson, 379 F. Supp.2d 1117 (D. Colo. July 27, 2005), vacated and remanded Lance v. Dennis, No. 05-555, 546 U.S. 459 (U.S. Feb. 21, 2006) : in which three plaintiffs sued the Secretary of State, alleging the General Assembly had been denied its obligation to redistrict, a complaint under the Elections Clause dismissed via the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; and that their right to a redress of grievances had been denied, dismissed when the court found the plaintiffs where in privity with the General Assembly
- Lance v. Dennis, No. 05-555, 546 U.S. 459 (U.S. Feb. 21, 2006) (per curiam) : in which the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the lower court's decision
- Lance v. Dennis, 444 F. Supp. 2d, 1149 (2006) : in which the district court found the plantiffs were barred by issue preclusion in Salazar
- Lance v. Coffman, No. 06-641 (U.S. Mar. 5, 2007) (per curiam) : in which the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's dismissal of the Petitions Clause claim
The following measures have appeared on the Colorado ballot pertaining to redistricting.
- Colorado Legislative Reapportionment, Issue 4 (1956)
- Colorado State Legislative Redistricting, Amendment 5 (1954)
With respect to redistricting, the Colorado Constitution provides authority to and outlines the duties of the Colorado Redistricting Commission in Section 48 of Article V. Composition of state House and Senate districts is dealt with in Sections 44, 45, 46, and 47.
- State Legislative and Congressional Redistricting after the 2010 Census
- State-by-state redistricting procedures
- Colorado Reapportionment Commission
- Detailed 2010 U.S. Census data for Colorado
- Colorado Public Radio April 29, 2011 program on redistricting
- State Senator Steve King's May 6, 2011 editorial for the Grand Junction Free Press
- Common Cause Colorado's May 2011 op-ed
- PolicyWonk's timelapse video of shifting racial demographics in Colorado
- Colorado State Government, "A Citizen’s Guide to State House and Senate Redistricting"
- Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
- Clear the Bench Colorado, "Redistricting versus Reapportionment - the confusion continues," April 20, 2011
- Centennial Citizen, "Balmer to lead redistricting," January 5, 2011
- Aurora Sentinel, "Legislative Preview: Money on their minds at the Capitol," January 9, 2011
- Boulder Weekly, "Local lawmakers peek into state’s legislative future," January 6, 2011
- Skyhi Daily News, "Colorado lawmakers to meet on redistricting," January 19, 2011
- Estes Park Trail Gazette, "Nikel to serve on redistricting committee," January 4, 2011
- Aspen Daily News, "Sen. Schwartz appointed to redistricting committee," January 8, 2011
- Redistricting in Colorado, "Redistricting Committee Contacts," accessed March 2, 2011
- The Denver Post, "Who holds the key on redistricting?," November 11, 2010
- The Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting: What legislators don’t know about the past can hurt Colorado," April 11, 2008
- The Durango Herald, "Redistricting: Legislators try to avoid fiasco," December 31, 2010
- The Coloradan, "Our thoughts: Goals of redistricting committee are worth supporting," January 4, 2011
- Grand Junction Sentinel, "Tighter guidelines may simplify legislative redistricting," May 21, 2011
- The American Independent, "Frank McNulty appoints former Owens redistricting counsel to redraw legislative districts," April 12, 2011
- Denver Post, "Population shift creates a challenge," May 17, 2011
- State Bill News, "Hickenlooper Appoints 3 To Reapportionment Commission," April 26, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Just because redistricting is messy, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing," May 27, 2011
- The Trinidad Times Independent, "State to gather public input for redistricting," January 4, 2011
- National Journal, "Census Quick Cuts: Colorado, Washington, Oregon," February 24, 2011
- Greeley Tribune, "Census numbers show 4th Congressional District to get smaller," February 24, 2011
- Boulder Daily Camera, "Boulder's District 2 among four to lose residents," February 25, 2011
- Denver Post, "Panel to review Rep. Balmer's behavior on Senate floor," January 27, 2011
- Denver Post, "Balmer escapes committee hearing, must formally apologize," January 28, 2011
- KDVR Fox, "Legislative panel to investigate state Rep. Balmer's behavior on Senate floor," January 27, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting committee gets first public comments," February 28, 2011
- Denver Post, "District 7 voters don't want cities split in redistricting," March 3, 2011
- WJBF-TV.com, "Colorado Starts Redrawing Congressional Districts," February 26, 2011
- Denver Post, "Redistricting meeting draws small crowd," February 28, 2011
- CBS 5 "Colo. Springs gets its redistricting turn," March 9, 2011
- The Colorado Springs Gazette, "El Paso County residents: Keep us together in redistricting," March 9, 2011
- KJCT Channel 8, "Club 20 Weighs In On Congressional Redistricting," March 9, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Panel seeks to make maps -- and peace," March 13, 2011
- The Colorado Independent, "GOP redistricting bill sparks protest by state House minority leader," March 4, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting causes commotion at capitol," March 9, 2011
- The Huffington Post, "GOP's Midnight Gerrymander Is the Big Bang of Colorado Congressional Map-Drawing Fights," March 11, 2011
- The Denver Post, "Redistricting bill infuriates Dems," March 4, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "GOP redistricting measure pairs Pueblo, Colo. Springs," March 5, 2011
- Colorado Pols, "Blink? Redistricting Plot Thickens," March 13, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "‘Be careful’," March 8, 2011
- Denver Post, "Hackles raised when Colorado redistricting committee says map will be delayed," April 9, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Redistricting panel to delay map proposal; special session possible," April 7, 2011
- Colorado Peak Politics, "ME FIRST: Sal Pace's Public Posturing On Redistricting," April 9, 2011
- Colorado Peak Politics, "REDISTRICTING DRAMA: Dems Outsource Map Drawing to Shady 527s, Tech Monkeys Can't Upload The Maps," April 14, 2011
- daily Journal, "Colorado lawmakers exchange redistricting proposals; GOP members find fault with Dems plans," April 15, 2011
- Greenfield Daily Reporter, "Rep. Coffman accuses Democrats of 'dirty political games' in redistricting," April 21, 2011
- Ski-Hi Daily News, "Colorado lawmakers prepare to tackle redistricting," April 15, 2011
- KDVR "Redistricting maps spark partisan barbs," April 15, 2011
- Times Call, "Shaffer, Heath deny partisan map motives," April 17, 2011
- KDVR.com, "Did Hoyer spill Shaffer, Pace's beans?," May 20, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Pace running for 3rd Congressional District," June 1, 2011
- http://www.coloradostatesman.com/content/992832-pace-enters-race-3rd-cd-republicans-pounce The Colorado Statesman, "Pace enters race in 3rd CD; Republicans pounce," June 3, 2011]
- The Boulder Daily Camera, "Shaffer says he has not decided on congressional run in 4th CD," May 25, 2011
- Denver Post's The Spot blog, "Map wars: Shaffer goes after McNulty, accuses him of blowing stuff up," April 18, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado Senate leader accuses House speaker of "blowing up" redistricting deal," April 19, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Redistricting committee erupts in partisanship," April 16, 2011
- The Holyoke Enterprise, "Sonnenberg reacts to redistricting maps," April 20, 2011
- BARN OnAir, "CO Representative Sonnenberg Reacts to “Unbelievable” Redistricting Maps," April 18, 2011
- Denver Post, "Ds and Rs face off over congressional redistricting maps," April 15, 2011
- Aspen Times, "Colorado lawmakers dispute redistricting maps," April 15, 2011
- Colorado Pols, "Redistricting D-Day!," April 15, 2011
- Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting maps in — Bipartisanship out?," April 15, 2011
- The Coloradan, "Redistricting again descends into partisanship," April 19, 2011
- The Colorado Springs Gazette, "Redistricting committee agrees to start new, joint plan," April 19, 2011
- Aspen Times, "Colorado lawmakers start over on redistricting," April 20, 2011
- The Colorado Independent, "Slate wiped clean on redistricting, but competitiveness remains a sticking point," April 20, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Dan Maes becomes factor in redistricting as talks stall," April 21, 2011
- Denver Post, "Members expect to finish the job on redistricting," April 22, 2011
- "Northern Colorado 5, 'Colo. lawmakers start over on redistricting," April 20, 2011
- Denver Post, "No agreement at Colorado redistricting meeting," April 20, 2011
- Denver Post, "Editorial: Can they really not draw a map?" April 23, 2011
- Denver Post, "Littwin: Remapping Colorado with crayons," April 24, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Redistricting talks may have come to an end without agreement," April 25, 2011
- 9News, "Bipartisan talks on Colorado redistricting collapse ," April 25, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Hickenlooper supports competitive redistricting," April 21, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Redistricting recommendations issue -- still without bipartisan consensus," April 25, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "Redistricting committee asks for more time to draw map," April 21, 2011
- Denver Post, "GOP admits skewing Colorado redistricting maps," April 28, 2011
- Denver Post, "Redistricting panel goes back to the drawing board," April 20, 2011
- The Longmont Times-call, "District map must be fair and bipartisan," April 23, 2011
- Summit Daily, "Liddick: Disingenuous gerrymandering: Democrats' redistricting map is cynically political," May 10, 2011
- Summit Daily, "Redistricting: Summit's Congressional district fate still unclear," April 21, 2011
- Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, "Local political leaders split on redistricting," April 21, 2011
- Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, "Post Independent opinion: Keep Western Slope interests intact by preserving 3rd District," April 29, 2011
- Estes Park Trail Gazette, "Congressional redistricting needs Willis Plan," April 21, 2011
- Estes Park Trail Gazette, "Board opposes redistricting," April 28, 2011
- Fort Morgan Times, "Progressive 15 wants communities of interest put first in redistricting," May 9, 2011
- Delta County Independent, "Dems’ redistricting proposals are outrageous," April 27, 2011
- Colorado GOP, "Colorado Newspapers Agree: Dems’ Redistricting Maps Out-of-Touch," April 23, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "County Republicans voice anger over Dems' effort to split district," April 26, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "Last legal redistricting decision gives Republicans ammo," April 27, 2011
- Denver Post, "Editorial: Easy as pie? Bipartisan failure on redistricting," April 27, 2011
- Coloradan, "Let's break redistricting impasse tradition," May 7, 2011
- Longmont Times-Call, "Shaffer: Redistricting compromise possible," April 27, 2011
- Colorado Radio, "Sen Heath Introduces His Redistricting Map," April 28, 2011
- Northern Colorado Business Report, "First official redistricting map introduced," April 29, 2011
- Fort Morgan Times, "State Legislature: Redistricting lacks bipartisan map for Congress," May 2, 2011
- Journal Advocate, "Lawmakers divided over district boundaries," April 30, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "Senate Democrats formally introduce redistricting map," April 29, 2011
- Colorado Springs Independent, "Dems pull redistricting idea after cold reception," May 5, 2011
- The Trinidad Times, "Redistricting at impasse in legislature," May 10, 2011
- Holyoke Enterprise, "Congressional redistricting still an issue at Capitol," May 11, 2011
- Denver Post, "Republicans propose "olive branch" on Colorado redistricting map," May 4, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "Democrats new redistricting map unites El Paso County," May 4, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "VIDEO: Battle of maps continues: Western Slope whole in new Democratic map," May 4, 2011
- Denver Daily News, "Dems hope they have finally introduced a map GOP can agree on," May 5, 2011
- ColoradoPols, "Democrats Unveil "Colorado Compromise" Redistricting Map," May 4, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado redistricting bills subject of public hearings," May 5, 2011
- News Times, "Colorado's redistricting deadlock not unusual," May 5, 2011
- Denver Post, "Aurora lawmaker hopes Hickenlooper can resolve redistricting impasse," May 5, 2011
- Denver Post, "GOP calls Democrats' new Colorado redistricting bill unacceptable," April 29, 2011
- Washington Post, "Colorado deadlocks on redistricting, with plenty at stake," May 3, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado GOP, Democrats still far apart on redistricting map," May 6, 2011
- Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting heads into final week of session," May 6, 2011
- Aurora Sentinel, "Colorado lawmakers don't appear any closer to redistricting solution," May 9, 2011
- Pueblo Chieftain, "Lawmakers race the clock," May 8, 2011
- The Grand Junction Sentinel, "No agreement on Colorado redistricting," May 10, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "No dice for redistricting this session," May 13, 2011
- 9News, "Colorado lawmakers fail on redistricting compromise," May 10, 2011
- 7News, "Colorado Redistricting Bill Dies In Committee," May 10, 2011
- Denver Post, "Map wars: Senate Republicans go to the mattresses over redistricting," May 10, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Maps lead to parting of ways," May 16, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado redistricting war seems headed to court," May 10, 2011
- The Colorado Springs Gazette, "SUNRISE: Man, woman arrested after items stolen from hotel," May 11, 2011
- The Republic, "Growing Hispanic population across Colorado may impact how new state districts are drawn," May 28, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Reapportionment commission begins work," May 20, 2011
- The Summit Daily News, "Summit lumped with Western Slope as reapportionment begins," May 27, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado redistricting could turn allies into campaign opponents," July 18, 2011
- Colorado Statesman, "Reapportionment Commission wrangles over districts," July 15, 2011
- Colorado Independent, "Democratic legislators concerned by House reapportionment maps," August 2, 2011
- Pueblo Chieftain, "Redistricting meetings begin today," August 4, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado legislative-district panel's chair plans his own proposal," September 16, 2011
- Houston Chronicle, "Panel chair: CO legislative maps more competitive," September 15, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado panel approves new state legislative districts," September 20, 2011
- The Republic, "Arguments on new CO legislative districts heard by state high court; ruling in coming weeks," November 9, 2011
- Huffington Post, "Colorado Redistricting: Supreme Court Rejects New House, Senate District Maps," November 16, 2011
- FOX 31 Denver, "Colorado Supreme Court strikes down new map of legislative districts," November 15, 2011
- Longmont Times-Call, "Reapportionment, redistricting fights to flare up anew," November 26, 2011
- Longmont Times-Call, "Colorado redistricting panel OK's Democratic plan," November 29, 2011
- The Republic, "Colo. Supreme Court OKs new Democratic-drawn legislative districts that pit GOP incumbents," December 12, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado Supreme Court sides with Democrats, picks their maps for new legislative districts," December 12, 2011
- WSLS, "Colo. Supreme Court Oks New Legislative Districts," December 12, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado redistricting winds up in court," May 11, 2011
- Denver Post, "Here comes the judge: Republicans, Democrats file suits over redistricting," May 11, 2011
- Law Week Colorado, "Redistricting Judge, Dem Lawyer Worked At Same Firm," May 11, 2011
- 9News, "Colorado redistricting headed to court," May 11, 2011
- Real Clear Politics, "Colo. lawmakers fail on redistricting compromise," May 12, 2011
- Denver Post, "Rosen: Redistricting's false premise," May 19, 2011
- The Republic, "Colorado Latino groups win effort to make proposed Congress maps public," August 13, 2011
- The Republic, "Colorado's congressional districts going to court Oct. 17," June 1, 2011
- Denver Post, "Redistricting lawsuit set for October," June 1, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting causes commotion at Capitol," March 11, 2011
- Denver Post, "Judge sets dates for release of proposed Colorado maps for redistricting," August 13, 2011
- Denver Post, "For now, Colorado redistricting grids all over the map," August 12, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "GOP, Dems unveil redistricting maps," August 23, 2011
- Stateline, "Colorado redistricting plan raises eyebrows," August 24, 2011
- Vail Daily, "Parties submit redistricting proposals," August 24, 2011
- The Hill, "Courts weigh battling Colorado redistricting plans," September 2, 2011
- Denver Post, "Latino map proposes major changes for congressional boundaries," September 2, 2011
- Denver Post, "Newest Colorado redistricting maps might aid Latinos, divide Denver," September 3, 2011
- KGWN, "Judge hearing arguments on Colorado redistricting," October 11, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Interest groups weigh in on redistricting," October 17, 2011
- Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting plays out in district court," October 21, 2011
- The American Independent, "Redistricting roulette: Colo. fed. lawmakers testify at ongoing district court trial," October 20, 2011
- KKTV, "Colorado Congressional Redistricting Suit Wraps Up," October 31, 2011
- Denver Post, "Redistricting: Latino attorney rips Democratic and Republican maps, GOP says new map coming," October 31, 2011
- Pueblo Chieftain, "Judge allows for more potential maps," November 1, 2011
- Denver Post, "Judge rules in favor of Democratic map in Colorado redistricting," November 10, 2011
- KWGN, "Colorado Republicans to appeal redistricting decision," November 16, 2011
- The Republic, "Colo. Supreme Court to hear GOP congressional redistricting appeal," November 17, 2011
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Colorado Supreme Court OKs Dems' redistricting map," December 5, 2011
- Denver Post, "Democrats win fight over Colorado Congressional boundaries," December 5, 2011
- The Colorado Statesman, "Casso to seek end to General Assembly redistricting," May 20, 2011
- Denver Business Journal, "Colorado lawmakers pledge bipartisan redistricting process," December 16, 2010
- Colorado Examiner, "Colorado redistricting takes center stage for 2011 General Assembly," December 23, 2010
- KDVR Fox, "Colorado lawmakers, governor to discuss legislative initiatives," December 16, 2010
- Colorado Independent, "Redistricting law passes granting courts greater discretion," May 13, 2010
- Colorado Statesman, "Redistricting process goes bipartisan," December 17, 2010
- Denver Post, "Measured approach to redistricting tried," December 17, 2010
- The Durango Herald, "Redistricting dance starts in Denver," January 19, 2011
- TimesCall.com, "Redistricting hearing set for Saturday in Loveland," February 24, 2011
- 9News.com, "El Paso County passes Denver as largest in Colorado," February 23, 2011
- Colorado Springs Gazette, "El Paso County likely to play key role in reapportionment," February 25, 2011
- Denver Post, "Colorado legislature set to clash on redistricting," April 22, 2010
- Fox News, "Colorado Legislature Redraws Districts Map," May 28, 2003
- Daily Kos, "Colorado Redistricting Decision Due Monday," November 29, 2011
- New Yorker Times, "Colorado Republicans Lose Redistricting Effort," June 8, 2004
- Fox News, "Supreme Court to Hear Colorado Redistricting Complaint," February 21, 2066
- Fairvote Archive, "Colorado's Redistricting News: February 19, 2001-September 27, 2001," accessed February 2, 2001
- Fairvote Archive, "Colorado's Redistricting News: (October 2-October 29, 2001)," accessed February 2, 2011
- Fairvote Archive, "Colorado's Redistricting News: (November 16, 2001 - January 15, 2002)," accessed February 2, 2011
- Fairvote Archive, "Colorado's Redistricting News:(January 16, 2002-February 5, 2002)," accessed February 2, 2011
- Fairvote Archive, "Colorado's Redistricting News," accessed February 2, 2011
- National Conference of State Legislatures, “Redistricting 2000 Population Deviation Table”, accessed February 1, 2011