Too little, too late. That’s how several minority lawmakers feel about the latest draft of a ballot measure that purports to outlaw gerrymandering in Colorado.
Initiative 107 was filed this morning by former Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican, and former lawmaker Kathleen Curry, who was a registered Democrat for years until switching to unaffiliated in 2010. The proposed ballot measure is the second effort by McNulty and others, including former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, to change how the state draws the maps for Colorado’s seven congressional districts and 100 legislative seats. The first attempt, submitted in November, immediately drew howls of protest from voting rights activists and minority groups who claimed the ballot measure would have disenfranchised minority voters.
Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing maps for congressional or legislative districts in a way that favors one political party over another.
In Colorado, as is the case in other states, map-drawing is politically contentious. Currently, the General Assembly is responsible for drawing congressional maps — a process that almost always ends up with courts making the final decisions.
Legislative maps currently are drawn by a bipartisan commission, with members appointed by various elected officials as well as the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. That process isn’t much less contentious, although the last time around in 2011, the commission was able to draw maps that didn’t have to go to the courts for final resolution.