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The Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission announced on Friday that it has received the 2020 U.S. Census data and staff has begun tabulating and drafting redistricting plans. In conjunction with that process, it discussed and adopted standards for political competitiveness and prisoner reallocation.

Thursday it conducted a discussion of standards, guidelines, and methodologies for staff plans and adopted the following:

Political competitiveness

The draft Census redistricting map could change substantially based on new census data.

Use an averaged multi-year, multi-election method to measure political competitiveness. The following eight elections should be used to ensure a fair, balanced federal formula:

2016 President:
2016 U.S. Senate
2018 Colorado Governor
2018 Colorado Attorney General
2018 Colorado Colorado Treasurer
2018 Colorado Secretary of State
2018 CU Regent-at-Large
2020 U.S. Senate

Prisoner reallocation

The commission will not direct staff to create redistricting plans using a data set that reallocates prisoners based on their home addresses rather than the locations in which they are incarcerated.

The problem with this ruling regarding where the votes of prison populations will count: in 2020 the Colorado Legislature passed a law which instructs the commissions to count prisoners where they lived before their incarceration. But the law is seen as unenforceable. Earlier this year, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling that dramatically narrowed what kinds of laws guiding the redistricting process the legislature can pass. So political law attorneys who specialize in political law advised the commission not to follow the guidance.

Thursday’s release of data by the United States Census Bureau included the population growth that warrants and confirms the addition of an eighth additional Congressional district in Colorado.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the data provides the first look at populations for small areas and includes information on Hispanic origin, race, age 18 and over, housing occupancy, and group quarters. The data documents where people were living as of April 1, 2020; ultimately it will be available for the nation, states, and communities — right down to the block level.

Nonpartisan legislative staff will immediately begin processing and tabulating that data for use in staff plans. The next draft of the congressional plans will be posted online on Sunday, Sept. 5, and presented to the congressional commission on Monday, Sept. 6.

Follow this link to a schedule of hearings, which will be  updated as they are added: