Thursday, April 24, 2008


DENVER—Today the Senate voted 21-12 in favor of SB08-198, which would require the legislature to create more competitive congressional districts in Colorado.

Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon (D-Denver) and Representative Rob Witwer (R-Golden), the bill would ensure that the legislature consider all the current criteria in state and federal law, such as keeping cities and counties intact and making the districts as compact as possible, but would add that, to the extent practicable, it consider whether districts contain balanced numbers of Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters.

“Competitive congressional districts are districts where you don’t know who is going to win in advance—you actually have to hold the election to find out,” said Gordon. “Congress will function better if the congressmen and women are beholden to the people who vote in general elections rather than the people who vote in partisan primaries. Competition is an integral part of our democracy.”

The bill would also require the General Assembly to:
• conduct at least 12 public hearings throughout the state on proposed redistricting plans;
• make redistricting data and mapmaking tools available to the public in at least one location in each congressional district; and
• allow for the submission of redistricting maps, recommendations, and inquiries from the public.

SB08-198 next heads to the House for consideration.