Frequently Asked Questions
Nonpartisan commission staff has immediately begun processing and tabulating the 2020 census data for use in staff plans. In addition to the 2020 census data, staff is also incorporating geographic information, public comments from the hearings as well as what’s been submitted online, and guidance from the commissions. 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. The next draft of the legislative plans will be posted online on Monday, Sept. 13, and presented to the legislative commission on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
In 2018, Colorado voters approved Amendments Y and Z, which transferred the responsibility for redrawing congressional and legislative districts from the Colorado legislature and the Reapportionment Commission to newly created independent commissions. Colorado is one of the first states to conduct redistricting in this way. We hope to be a model in the redistricting process.
The commissioners are a group of volunteers who applied and were selected through a process of judicial review and random draw. Each commission - legislative and congressional - is comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans, and four unaffiliated voters. Each commission includes at least one member residing in each current congressional district and at least one member from the Western Slope. Each commission must, to the extent possible, reflect Colorado's racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity.
The commissions have established policies, guidelines and methodologies regarding the creation of the maps, including how to determine political competitiveness, contiguity, and more. Nonpartisan commission staff implements these determinations as it drafts the revised maps. Commissioner requests for additional maps or amendments to the maps must be made in a public meeting. Commissioners will offer amendment and additional plan requests in a uniform manner during these meetings, so that actual requests for drafting can be properly distinguished from brainstorming. Requests must be read aloud, pasted into the chat function of Zoom, and recorded in the meeting summary for the public record.
Yes. Pursuant to Senate Bill 20-186, members of the commissions receive a per diem of $200 for attendance at regularly scheduled meetings of the commission, as well as reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred while performing official duties, together with mileage at the rate at which members of the General Assembly are reimbursed ($0.52/mile). The law also specifies that a member of the commission who is a state officer or employee shall not claim per diem compensation from more than one source for official activities on the same day.
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Members of the public can watch the commissions and testify remotely before them via Zoom. Audio is recorded and broadcast online. Members of the public can also submit maps and written comments online.
Colorado has a resident population of 5,773,714 in the 2020 U.S. Census. Each of 8 congressional districts will have 721,714 people. More deviation is allowed in state legislative districts, but there are target population numbers. Each of 35 state senate districts will have about 164,963 people. Each of 65 state house districts will have about 88,826 people.
The preliminary maps are posted online, and the commissions are collecting feedback at a series of public hearings. Once final redistricting data is released by the U.S. Census Bureau, after August 16, 2021, the nonpartisan commissions staff will release refined maps based on the data and the public comments. The plans must be approved by the Colorado Supreme Court no later than December 15, 2021 (congressional) and December 29, 2021 (legislative).
The 2022 elections for US Congress, State House of Representatives, and State Senate will be held in the newly drawn districts. Local governments, such as counties and cities, have separate timelines for redistricting.
How to Get Involved
1. Review the preliminary maps. 2. Tell the commissions what you think. Use the web form or email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org 3. Use our free mapping tool, the redistricting online portal, to draw and submit a map. 4. Testify at a public hearing.
The Colorado Constitution requires the commissions to hold public hearings to allow residents the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed congressional and legislative maps.
The commissioners selected a minimum of three locations in each current congressional district while keeping in mind the size of the cities, the distance people would have to travel to attend a hearing, and access for a variety of communities. The full hearing schedule is linked under "Speak to the Commissions". Virtual attendance options are available for each hearing.
Every hearing is open to anyone, regardless of what district you live in. The commissions also provide virtual attendance options. You can choose to testify at a hearing, or just attend and watch. The hearings give Coloradans the chance to learn about redistricting, and have their voices heard in this important process.
The commissions especially want to hear about your communities of interest. We want to know: •What shared interests unite your community? •What are your community’s public policy concerns? •What geographic areas or features are important to your community? •What else should the commissions know about your community? •How do the proposed maps impact your particular community of interest?
Registration for public testimony opens one week before the scheduled day and time of the public hearing. Before that time the hearing does not appear on the signup page. Registration remains open until the start of the hearing.
Applying to Be a Commissioner
Applications were available beginning August 10, 2020, and had to be submitted by November 10, 2020.
Yes. If you wish to be considered for both commissions you must apply separately to each commission. However, you cannot be selected to serve on both commissions.
The Colorado Constitution requires candidates for the redistricting commissions to be "either unaffiliated with any political party or affiliated with the same political party for a consecutive period of no less than five years at the time of the application." If you have changed your affiliation in the last five years, you are not eligible to serve as a commissioner.
The state constitution specifies that each commission must include four commissioners who are not affiliated with any political party (unaffiliated), four commissioners affiliated with the state's largest political party (Democratic Party), and four commissioners who are affiliated with the state's second largest political party (Republican Party). Those affiliated with a minor political party (Green, Libertarian, etc.) are not eligible to serve on either commission.
Letters of recommendation and other supplemental materials can be addressed to Jessika Shipley, Staff Director, and submitted as part of the online application.
The state constitution puts restrictions on commissioners that are reflected in the application process. The application wizard will reject applicants who are ineligible to be commissioners based on their answers to the questions. All applicants must be registered to vote in Colorado, must have voted in the last two general elections (2016 and 2018) in Colorado, and must have been affiliated with the same political party or not affiliated with any political party for the last five years. Congressional redistricting commissioners cannot have been a candidate for federal office within the last five years or been paid by a member of or candidate for Congress within the last three years. Legislative redistricting commissioners cannot have been a candidate for the state legislature within the last five years or been paid by a member of or candidate for the state legislature within the last three years. Commissioners on either commission cannot have been any of the following within the last three years: professional registered lobbyists, certain elected public officials, or elected political party officials above the precinct level. No commissioners may serve on both commissions.
The state constitution prohibits anyone from applying who is or was "an elected public official at the federal, state, county, or municipal level in Colorado" within the three years preceding the application deadline. This means that since November 10, 2017, you cannot apply if you have held any of the following elected positions: U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, State Senator, State Representative, State Board of Education, University of Colorado Board of Regents, County Commissioner, Clerk and Recorder, Sheriff, Coroner, Surveyor, Assessor, Treasurer, Mayor, City Council Member, Town Trustee, or any other elected federal, state, county, or municipal official. Those holding elected positions on school boards or for special districts are not excluded from applying. Additionally, an applicant for the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission cannot have been a candidate for federal elective office since November 10, 2015, and an applicant for the Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission cannot have been a candidate for the General Assembly since November 10, 2015.
(UPDATED) Yes. Full applications are public records subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). Phone numbers, email addresses, and birthdates will be redacted before applications are released under CORA. Now that the commissions are seated, we have removed the application listings from the website.
Commissioners will be selected by March 1 (congressional commission) or March 16 (legislative commission), 2021. Staff anticipates each commission will meet periodically in March and April, 2021, for organization and training purposes. After that, the commissions' work depends on data from the US Census Bureau. Pandemic-related delays in conducting the census have also led to delays in data release, and states have not been given a time frame for when they will receive their redistricting data. Once staff is able to prepare preliminary maps for the commissions, the state constitution requires each commission to conduct at least 3 public hearings on these maps in each of the state's 7 congressional districts. The commissions will need to decide how to handle these hearings, what level of remote participation to allow, and the frequency of expected travel. All of these factors make it difficult to determine the time commitment, but staff expects that there will be some times where a commissioner with other employment will need to take time off that work to fulfill their redistricting duties.
Applicant Review Process
Nonpartisan commission staff will review all applications to make sure they meet minimum qualifications. Panels of retired judges will review applicants after an initial random selection, and narrow the pools before another random selection. Legislative leadership will also be able to review applications to select their pools of candidates.
Staff is working with the Secretary of State's office to review each applicant's voter registration record. To qualify to be a commissioner, an applicant must have been affiliated with the same political party or no political party continuously for the last five years (since November 10, 2015) and must have voted in the 2016 and 2018 general elections in Colorado.
Applicants who staff found not to meet the minimum qualifications were contacted by email. They were asked to respond to the email within a week if they needed to correct anything or provide information to help document that they were qualified to be a commissioner.
In addition to random selection and judicial review, four commissioners for each commission will be selected from lists produced by the majority and minority leaders of the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. They can choose any eligible applicants to put on their lists of ten each. This is the last opportunity for consideration if your application was not selected in the random draw.