Oct 12, 2021 - Politics
Colorado redistricting battle heads to court
Illustration of Colorado with abstract political districts changing their shapes.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The independent panel that created Colorado's new congressional districts gave the lines a near-unanimous vote in favor, but more than a dozen legal challenges suggest the map is far from a settled matter.

What's happening: Democratic groups and their allies are asking the Colorado Supreme Court to order revisions to the congressional district boundaries, saying the map improperly splits communities and dilutes the power of Latino voters.

  • Tuesday afternoon, the justices will hear arguments suggesting that the mapmakers failed to follow the law when drafting the districts.
  • Two organizations will argue the map needs stronger Latino representation, while the Democratic-aligned Fair Lines Colorado will push to make the 7th District better for their side.

Catch up quick: Colorado voters approved two constitutional amendments in 2018 to create an independent redistricting process.

  • Using new 2020 census numbers, the congressional panel drew the map to include a new 8th District and keep all current incumbents in their territory.
  • The new district leans Republican and gives the GOP a chance at a 4-4 split of the congressional delegation, despite the state's stronger Democratic leanings.

Of note: A similar process is guiding the creation of the state legislative district maps, but they're being drawn by a separate commission that must finish its work Tuesday.

What's next: The court can accept the maps and reject the challenges, making them Colorado's new boundaries for the next decade. Or the justices can send it back to the independent commission, which would have 12 days to make revisions.

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