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Colorado Supreme Court hears testimony on congressional redistricting map

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — It’s a fight over who gets to vote for which candidates in Colorado. Tuesday, it went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

An independent redistricting commission decided which areas should be represented by U.S. Congress members, this map divides up the state, separating counties and redistributing voters to different districts, including a new 8th district. Though Coloradans voted to have the district come up with the map, some folks are not pleased with the outcome.

Fifteen different groups filed a brief with the court to explain their take on the map. While some technical issues were found, others are making moral arguments against the plan.

In the first year of the state using a bipartisan commission to redraw lines for a new member of Congress, some said the commission didn’t prioritize diversity.

“Districts are drawn based on those first, five criteria which are race neutral and only after, only after all that discretion is exercised and we come back and look at the map is the commission tasked with asking did we ensure that we didn’t dilute minority electoral influence?” Kendra Beckwith with Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization said.

While some saw issues with weakening representation, others raised the issue of privacy.

Attorneys with the City and County of Denver said there’s an issue with lines in two precincts on the map where people may be able to figure out the way people living there voted.

“It is a little bit questionable, and we have identified a potential problem and we’re bringing this up in front of the Colorado Supreme Court because it matters,” Denver Clerk and Record Paul Lopez said. “Voter anonymity matters, and this is important for us: every single person who voted should have voter anonymity.”

While each brief had their own issue for the justices to consider, Douglas County commissioners said the plan is not flawless, but they will take it if it keeps their county together.

“Really, we’re pretty happy here in Douglas County. The county is by in large whole, we know we do have that portion where Aurora comes into Douglas County that is staying with the 6th Congressional District. We’re not really aligned with the Denver metropolitan area, but we are still in the 4th Congressional District,” Commissioner George Teal, of Douglas County’s 2nd district said.

The commission was given an opportunity to respond to the briefs. They told the groups the process they used to create maps was thorough, undergoing 40 public hearings and going through thousands of written comments and more than 100 proposed maps. They could be set to hear more if the court sends it back to the commission by Nov. 1.

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