ELECTION: Voters approve end to partisan gerrymandering

Colorado voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved dramatic reforms to how Congressional and legislative districts are drawn in Colorado, rejecting partisan gerrymandering and providing a blueprint for the elimination of the practice in other states.

District boundaries are redrawn after every federal census, and political parties in power have drawn district boundaries that maximized the number of people from their parties — and that minimized that of their opponents.

Amendments Y and Z create independent commissions to draw boundaries for Congressional and legislative districts, respectively. The amendments take congressional and legislative redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and place it in the hands of an independent panel comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and five unaffiliated voters. Gerrymandering would be prohibited, and the process conducted in public. District maps would require approval by at least eight panel members, including at least two unaffiliated members.

Support for Amendment Y stood at 72 percent, with “No” votes at 28 percent, with 58 percent of votes counted. Voters were supporting Amendment Z by a similar margin, 71 percent to 29 percent.

“Colorado has done what no other state has done before.  We are giving independent voters an equal voice and equal seat at the table,” Kent Thiry, campaign co-chair of Fair Maps Colorado and DaVita Healthcare CEO, said in a written statement.  “The rest of the nation is looking to us as the example on how to get rid of gerrymandering and to lay the foundation for government that works for citizens.”

Fair Maps Colorado spokesman Curtis Hubbard echoed that sentiment.

“Fantastic — a great result, a real testament to what can happen when Coloradans work together,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said the margin of victory — well in excess of the 55 percent approval needed for a constitutional amendment — came about because of support from across the political spectrum.

“It’s because of the tripartisan work that went into crafting these measures,” he said, noting that the measures won support from both political parties and from unaffiliated individuals.

The amendments won the endorsement of Gov. John Hickenlooper and all five living former governors, as well as the conservative Independence Institute, the ACLU and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Hubbard said the rejection of gerrymandering will prove a powerful example to other states, emphasizing competitiveness in districts, openness, transparency of the process and removal of politicians and political insiders from the redistricting process.

 

Colorado voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved dramatic reforms to how Congressional and legislative districts are drawn in Colorado, rejecting partisan gerrymandering and providing a blueprint for the elimination of the practice in other states.

District boundaries are redrawn after every federal census, and political parties in power have drawn district boundaries that maximized the number of people from their parties — and that minimized that of their opponents.

Amendments Y and Z create independent commissions to draw boundaries for Congressional and legislative districts, respectively. The amendments take congressional and legislative redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and place it in the hands of an independent panel comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and five unaffiliated voters. Gerrymandering would be prohibited, and the process conducted in public. District maps would require approval by at least eight panel members, including at least two unaffiliated members.

Support for Amendment Y stood at 72 percent, with “No” votes at 28 percent, with 58 percent of votes counted. Voters were supporting Amendment Z by a similar margin, 71 percent to 29 percent.

“Colorado has done what no other state has done before.  We are giving independent voters an equal voice and equal seat at the table,” Kent Thiry, campaign co-chair of Fair Maps Colorado and DaVita Healthcare CEO, said in a written statement.  “The rest of the nation is looking to us as the example on how to get rid of gerrymandering and to lay the foundation for government that works for…