Campaign Legal Center (CLC), on behalf of its client the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Colorado LULAC, has submitted a brief and presented oral argument to the Colorado Supreme Court, urging the court to reject the congressional redistricting commission’s adopted map because it violates the Colorado Constitution’s strong...
Ensuring Colorado’s Redistricting Maps Fulfill the State Constitution’s Protections Against Vote Dilution
At a Glance
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed two briefs in two cases before the Colorado Supreme Court on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Colorado League United of Latin American Citizens (together, “LULAC”), advocating for congressional and state legislative redistricting maps that would avoid the preventable dilution of Latino voters’ electoral influence.Back to top
About this Action
In 2018, Colorado voters overwhelmingly supported two amendments to the state constitution that created two independent redistricting commissions for the 2021 cycle, one to redraw Colorado’s congressional map and the other to redraw Colorado’s state House and state Senate maps. Part of the amendments established the criteria for the commissions to use in determining district lines, including the key requirement that the commissions must avoid adopting a map that would needlessly dilute the electoral influence of Colorado’s minority voters.
The congressional commission disregarded this new “electoral influence” requirement, claiming that it was merely a restatement of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Based on this flawed interpretation, the Congressional Redistricting Commission’s submitted map would dilute the electoral influence of Colorado’s Latino voters in the southern parts of the state and areas in north Denver.
The Legislative Redistricting Commission working on the state House and state Senate maps drew lines that fulfilled the electoral influence requirement. The Legislative Redistricting Commission complied by devising “crossover districts” that enabled pockets of substantial minority voter populations in the state to combine with other cohesive voters in a way that avoids preventable vote dilution. The Legislative Redistricting Commission drew these crossover districts even in areas where the federal VRA would likely not be applicable.
CLC filed briefs on behalf of LULAC directly in the Colorado Supreme Court advocating for the Court to interpret the “electoral influence” requirement to mean what it says and carry out Colorado voters’ intent to establish protections against minority vote dilution that exceed the federal VRA. CLC’s brief in the congressional case encouraged the court to reject the Congressional Redistricting Commission’s lawyers’ misinterpretation of the Colorado Constitution that would erase the electoral influence requirement from the Colorado Constitution and send the submitted map back to the commission to be corrected. CLC’s brief in the state legislative case encouraged the court to rule that the Legislative Redistricting Commission fulfilled its constitutional obligations to avoid preventable vote dilution.
What's at Stake
Latinos in Colorado comprise one-fifth of the state’s population, including an increase of nearly a quarter of a million new Latino residents over the last decade. But Latino voters have faced substantial structural obstacles embedded in Colorado’s redistricting plans that have historically prevented them from translating their political strength into effective representation. Only one Latino candidate has ever represented Colorado in the House of Representatives, and candidates supported by Latino voters are rarely elected. Colorado voters in 2018 sought to correct this course by enshrining protections of minority voters’ electoral influence in the state constitution. The court must enforce those protections in harmony with other redistricting considerations to ensure that Latino voters have an effective voice in the political process.