A proposed ballot question that would change congressional redistricting in Colorado is being rewritten to address concerns raised by black and Latino voters. The bipartisan proposal has caused a bit of a rift within the Colorado Democratic Party, with black and Latino Democrats at odds with certain white Democrats over the effort. “There were, I’m sorry, a bunch of white guys sitting around the table deciding our politics on redistricting moving forward,” said state Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, chairwoman of the Colorado Black Caucus.
The initiative would take congressional redistricting out of the Legislature and hand the responsibility to an independent commission. The commission would include an equal number of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated members. Meetings would be held in public, with nonpartisan staff drawing the maps. It would take a supermajority of eight of the 12 commissioners to adopt a map. Map-drawers would be required to create competitive districts.
The proposal must survive a second state review and comment hearing before proponents can collect the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify for the 2016 ballot. They have until April to work through the formalities and ballot language.
The initiative comes ahead of the 2020 census, when the next congressional redistricting process would get underway. Historically, Republicans and Democrats have fought over redrawing Colorado’s seven congressional districts, with battles over creating more competitive boundaries.