The process of redistricting Colorado begins
What is Redistricting?
Redistricting is the process by which states and the jurisdictions within them redraw the lines that encompass electoral districts. These districts are the geographical areas from which political representatives are elected on the local, regional, state, and federal levels.
The residents of each electoral district vote for who will govern them and represent them—in the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, county commissions, city councils, and school boards. All electoral districts within a given redistricting map must contain approximately the same number of people.
What’s Happening in Colorado
Colorado currently has seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and will gain an eighth congressional seat for the 2022 election. Colorado’s population jumped to 5,773,714 in 2020 from 5,029,196 in 2010, a 14.8% increase. The nation’s population grew by 7.4% during that span to more than 330 million. America’s growth rate was its slowest since the 1930s.
The U.S. Census is conducted every ten years, and afterward the U.S. Congress reapportions the number of congressional seats each state has based on population. Currently, Colorado’s seven congressional districts are represented by four Democrats and three Republicans.
Current Progress and Timeline
Preliminary maps were presented on June 29. They are an important starting point for public input, as the commissions embark on a statewide roadshow to get comments from the public and community organizations.
The legislative commission and the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will hold 32 hearings around the state beginning July 9. Members of the public can also participate by submitting comments online.
The Colorado Supreme Court must approve the maps by the end of the year, allowing election officials to prepare for the 2022 elections.
See the public hearing schedule, submit public comment, or sign up to testify at: redistricting.colorado.gov. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved in the redistricting process and provide public comment to the redistricting commissions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Redistricting Matters
How district lines are drawn determine where residents can vote, whom they can vote for, and even how responsive elected officials are to constituents’ requests. Historically, areas with significant Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations were split into different districts (also known as “cracking”), which reduced the voting power of those populations.
The “cracking” resulted in the AAPIs being split and not making up a significant portion of any official’s constituency. Hence, the officials were left with little incentive to respond to the AAPI community’s needs and requests.
Participation of Colorado’s AAPI communities in the redistricting process will ensure the under-resourced and nominally represented AAPI population have a voice to decide who their leaders can be at the local, state and regional levels.
There are approximately 263,800 people who identify as Asian in Colorado. Engagement of the AAPI population in the redistricting process is more critical than ever. With the rampantly increasing hate incidents targeting Asians, having elected officials who are responsive and accountable towards AAPI communities will help transform and build the diverse Asian immigrant and Asian American communities to become stronger and better represented.