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.   
June 18th 2006
Where politicians dare to tread
San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board endorses the British Columbia Citizens Assembly approach to electoral reform, specifically noting the potential for proportional representation in California.

March 21st 2006
Real redistricting reform is proportional representation
San Francisco Examiner

Rob Dickinson of Californians for Electoral Reform writes a commentary on how recent proposals to make the redistricting process fairer miss the mark. For real progress in how we elect our representatives, we need to turn to proportional voting.

March 1st 2006
Tanner redistricting bill gains Senate sponsor
The Hill

Senator Tim Johnson introduced a companion bill to Rep. John Tanner's federal redistricting reform legislation. The identical bills, supported by FairVote, would set up state commissions to handle redistricting only once a decade.

December 20th 2005
Overhaul of state electoral system sought

Following on the heels of the defeat of redistricting reform in California, Republican and Democratic legislators plan on introducing legislation to create a citizens assembly for election reform and discuss proportional voting for the state.

December 11th 2005
A Dramatic Idea for Election Reform
New York Times

A Times reader highlights the fundamental weakness of any single-member district-based system: gerrymandering is unavoidable.

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