Redistricting: Colorado Lawmakers Promise It Won't Be as Contentious as Last Time

December 17 2010, 10:30 AM

Every decade, congressional district lines are redrawn to reflect the latest U.S. Census figures in a scrappy process called "redistricting." Usually, the redrawing of the lines is dominated by whichever party is able, often by luck, to exert the most influence and, as the Denver Business Journal writes, "create as many districts as possible where its own candidates have an advantage"—a scheme referred to as "gerrymandering." In 2000, the process created so much fighting that a plan had to be imposed by a District Court judge in Denver, a ruling that was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court. This time around, leaders in the state legislature promise, it will be different.

There will be equal political representation in a special committee that redraws the lines, as well as meetings around the state that include testimony from regular citizens, say the heads of the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House. "One of our goals is to take what is always one of the most partisan of issues down at the state Capitol, try and take the heat out of it, take the politics out of it, and do the work of the people," says incoming House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Republican from Highlands Ranch (via the Loveland Connection). The committee, with members to be named next week, will visit each of the seven congressional districts in the state and then return to the Capitol with a report to the legislature by April 14, likely with recommendations. "We'll see if this works, but we're certainly hopeful," McNulty adds.