An important issue facing Colorado’s Legislature in 2011 is the Constitutionally-mandated task of redrawing our U.S. Congressional District boundaries to balance population. Since 2000 Census, El Paso County has added more new residents than any other county in Colorado, which has lead to some significant proposed changes.
Each state has its own process for re-drawing the maps; in Colorado, there is a bipartisan committee consisting of 10 Legislators – 5 from each party – who have the responsibility. They held 10 public meetings around the state to obtain citizen input and have drawn some maps for discussion. The target is to have about 718,457 people in each of Colorado’s 7 districts.
The Joint Select Committee must also consider the following principles; no diluting of minority influence (established by the Voting Rights Act); recognizing communities of interest and preserving regions, geographical areas, water basins, transportation corridors, cities, towns and neighborhoods with similar needs in the same districts when possible; and maintaining competitiveness based on party affiliation, which means that we should favor creating “swing districts” with balanced number of Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters over “safe seats” where the same party always wins.
Some of the proposed maps split El Paso County into two Congressional Districts: Fort Carson, and its bedroom communities of Fountain, Widefield and Security, would go with the South and East rural parts of El Paso County in CD-3, a district that extends across the entirety of Southern Colorado. Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Monument would continue to be the population center of CD-5, which would now extend northward to include Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch.
These are just a few of the options on the table, but I encourage you to read about the process and contact my office to tell me what you think.