Two groups that were readying for a major battle on your ballot in November over how Colorado draws its political lines have laid down their swords and joined forces in a grand bargain they say will end partisan gerrymandering. The March 27 announcement of this negotiated pact between a group called Fair Districts Colorado and another called People Not Politicians is a stunning turnabout after six months of saber-rattling, and, at times, accusations of bad faith. The compromise means the two groups have joined behind two new proposed ballot measures they say could end gerrymandering by changing the state Constitution.
“It’s truly a remarkable story of cooperation and good will,” says Bernie Buescher, a former Democratic Colorado secretary of state and a lawyer who worked on the deal. “Everybody had to put aside their lack of trust based on history and expectations.”
At issue is the way Colorado draws its political boundaries for members of Congress and the legislature, which takes place after each 10-year census. If conservatives, progressives, voting rights groups and minority communities back this effort and work successfully to pass it, Colorado could be seen as yet another test tube for state policy nationwide.