An influential non-partisan organization said on Wednesday it was considering taking legal action against Colorado’s redistribution cards.
In a webinar hosted by Common Cause, a good governance organization that often aligns with Colorado State House Democrats, the group’s national director of redistribution said the Centennial State was one of the 11 states where the group was considering litigation.
“It’s just because (these states) had a totally dysfunctional process because the maps they drew did not take into account voting rights law or other legal requirements,” Kathay Feng said. of Common Cause. With Colorado, she said maps drawn in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Minnesota were “in the spotlight.”
Jennifer Parenti, the lead organizer of the Common Cause Colorado redistribution, criticized the independent commission that drew the maps of Congress on how the proposed boundaries treat communities of color, especially Latinos, as diversity explodes in ” the rapidly growing state ”.
“Unfortunately, this Congress card proposal does not reflect this diversity,” Parenti said. “Rather, it divides our communities of color into several districts while apparently prioritizing municipal boundaries and protecting incumbents.”
Although she noted that it is not possible to create a congressional district where a single racial, ethnic or linguistic minority group has a majority of 50% plus 1% of voting age, Parenti said Common Cause drew up his own maps that showed it was possible to draw a district where Latinos have a voting age majority. She also said that the Common Cause map design showed the commission could also have opted for boundaries giving coalitions of communities of color majorities in two districts.
Colorado Congressional Redistribution Map Plan Final Adopted
“Unfortunately, our commission chose to disregard neither of these approaches and left our communities of color scattered across several districts,” she said. “This considerably dilutes their electoral influence. “
Like the other Common Cause employees on the panel, Parenti advocated for the Freedom to Vote Act, a measure sponsored by Democrats in the US Senate. According to Parenti, the provisions of this bill would benefit Colorado’s redistribution process, even though the state is “often seen as the gold standard for inclusive and secure electoral practices.”
Parenti’s concerns reflect complaints filed by two Latin American defense organizations, which announced their intention to challenge the map less than a day after the committee adopted last week its final map. The Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization and the League of United Latin American Citizens have said they believe the cards do not meet requirements not to dilute the voting power of minorities.
The new redistribution process, which stems from voting measures that changed the state’s constitution to create the independent commission system currently in use, was passed with overwhelming voter support in 2018, and is forcing the Colorado Supreme Court to examine the adopted card and decide whether the new requirements have been met. If they decide that the requirements have been met, the card will be adopted for use within the next decade.
Parenti said Common Cause is preparing briefs to send to the state Supreme Court along with the commission’s card, which is due to be delivered to the High Court by the end of the week.
“We will have to see how the court reacts to understand exactly how we want to move forward,” she said.
Asked more about the potential litigation, Feng said that “the main thing we are focusing on is filing briefs by the end of this week.”