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2011 Redistricting Battle Already Beginning at Capitol

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Every 10 years after new census counts, politicians are left with the arduous task of redrawing the congressional districts in their states, a process meant to guarantee the most democratic representation possible. Some states may gain or lose a U.S. representative.

As for the politicians, they fight over boundaries. And though redistricting is about a year away, the battle has already begun. Yesterday, a state House committee passed House Bill 1408 to repeal the criteria courts consider when weighing in on congressional district borders, according to The Denver Daily News.

Bill sponsor Paul Weissmann, the Democratic House majority leader, says his bill, which is opposed by some Republicans, removes a Republican bias from 2003, when the GOP controlled the Legislature. His bill aims, in part, to remove priorities such as: keeping cities and counties wholly within districts; preserving so-called communities of interest within districts; and keeping disruption of prior district lines at a minimum.

The bill, according to The Denver Post, also removes language in the current law that prevents courts from considering “non-neutral” factors, including “political party registration, political party election performance, and other factors that invite the court to speculate about the outcome of an election.”

The last rule’s intent is to keep courts from considering whether districts should also be politically competitive, but Republicans say state court judges have favored Democratic interests. “We would all like to depoliticize the process,” says Representative Mark Waller, a Colorado Springs Republican. “This is a political process not only in the Legislature, but I also believe it becomes a partisan political process in the courts, as well.”

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