Denver, CO

Denver to redraw City Council district boundaries

David Heitz

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The Denver City Council will consider Monday a resolution that puts the wheels in motion for re-drawing the city’s council districts.

The council districts need to be redrawn due to the city’s explosive population growth. The resolution under consideration Monday spells out how the districts will be redrawn.

“Redistricting will respect one-person-one-vote principles as required by the Constitution and the requirement for proportionality as contained in the Charter,” according to the resolution, which already is in place but is being updated. “The population norm for Council districts will be established by dividing the population of the entire City by 11, the number of district seats. The sum of the percentage by which the population of the largest district exceeds the norm, and the smallest district falls short of the norm will not exceed ten percent. The 2020 census will serve as the source for all population data.”

Race and redistricting

The resolution also considers race in redistricting. “District lines will be drawn to avoid subjecting the city to equal protection claims arising on behalf of any person in a protected class based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Race and ethnicity will be taken into account to the extent necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act. However, race and ethnicity will not be the predominant factor determining the location of district boundaries if to do so would subordinate the other traditional race-neutral districting principles set forth herein.

“District lines will be drawn with the intent to avoid subjecting the city to equal protection claims arising on behalf of any person in a protected class based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Resolution vows transparency

The resolution stresses the importance of transparency as the council re-draws the districts. There will be ample public meetings with electronic access. There will be public engagement before public hearings.

“Video of the Redistricting Committee’s meetings and all documents and maps will be available on the City’s website at www.DenverGov.org/CityCouncil,” according to the resolution. “Council staff will maintain a complete record of all meetings, hearings, reports, correspondence, exhibits, and work papers throughout the redistricting process, and any documents presented in the redistricting meetings will be available for inspection and in print at the City Council Office. City Council will maintain a designated Redistricting webpage at www.Denvergov.org/redistricting.”

What happens next

After the council completes its current budget season, a Committee of the Whole will meet to discuss Census data, map vetting process amongst colleagues and the public, and begin drawing maps.

The resolution maintains the council will do all it can to keep the public in the loop about the redistricting process. “The City Council will make every effort to communicate the redistricting process to interested constituent groups by conducting outreach through various established media and communication outlets,” the resolution vows.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

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