SB 198
Background and Procedural Information

Colorado Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon introduced Colorado Senate Bill 198 (CO S.B. 198) on March 6, 2008.  As of June 4, 2008 it has passed the Senate but has been indefinitely postponed in a House Committee.  This bill would establish new criteria for Colorado’s independent Reapportioning Commission to use when creating Congressional districts.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

No.  There are no restrictions on the creation of multi-member districts.   

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

This bill proposes six ranked criteria be used to develop districts.  The criteria ranked second in importance states that a factor should be “non-dilution of minority voting strength.”  There is no overt mention of the Voting Rights Act.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The existing law of Colorado has the eleven person commission is formed by the legislative leaders of Colorado each choosing one commissioner, the governor choosing three commissioners, and four commissioners chosen by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.  A maximum of six commissioners may be members of the same political party.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

The commission is to create districts based on six criteria ranked in order of importance.  The sixth criterion is that “to the extent practicable the General Assembly shall create districts that promote fair and equitable representation and electoral competition.”  

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No.  The existing law of Colorado does not allow for members of the public to submit their own plan.  

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

The existing law only provides for one redistricting session per decade.   
November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

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