Colorado Supreme Court approves final state legislative maps

On Nov. 15, 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court approved the state House and Senate maps finalized by the Colorado Independent Legislative Commission on Oct. 11 and 12, respectively. These maps, which redraw the state’s 35 Senate districts and 65 House districts, will take effect for the state’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Colorado was the 16th state to finalize its state legislative redistricting maps following the 2020 census. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 29 states had completed their state legislative maps.

The Colorado Sun’s Thy Vot wrote that the maps “appear to favor Democrats’ maintaining their majority in the General Assembly.” Colorado Politics’ Evan Wyloge observed that the new maps created nine House districts where previous election results fell within a five percentage point margin of victory and eight such Senate districts. At the time of approval, Democrats held a 42-23 majority in the House and a 20-15 majority in the Senate.

This is the first redistricting cycle following the passage of Amendment Z by voters in 2018, which established a non-politician commission to handle state legislative redistricting. The commission settled on its final House and Senate maps during meetings on Oct. 11 and 12. Under Colorado’s redistricting rules, once the commission approves its final versions, those maps are then sent to the state supreme court for final approval. 

During the supreme court’s approval process, nine organizations and individuals submitted legal briefs in support of or opposition to the maps. Colorado Newsline’s Sara Wilson wrote that “objections to those maps revolve around the argument that they split up cities like Lakewood and Greeley without justification and don’t create enough competitive districts.” Supporters of the maps said that the commission fulfilled the constitutional requirements laid out by Amendment Z, which the supreme court agreed with in the conclusion of its opinion.

The state supreme court previously approved the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission’s congressional map on Nov. 1.

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