On behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and its Colorado affiliate, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed comments today urging The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw its proposed voting maps.
The comments letter raised concerns that the proposed maps would weaken minority voting power in violation of the state Constitution.
In 2018, Colorado lawmakers gave up the power to redraw district lines, voting unanimously to put measures on the ballot that would hand over the process to independent, politically balanced commissions. Voters agreed overwhelmingly.
The commissions they set up each have four Democrats, four Republicans and four Unaffiliated voters.
The Colorado Constitution provides strong protections for minority voters in redistricting—stronger than under the federal Voting Rights Act.
However, the staff-proposed congressional redistricting plan would splinter Latino voters across three safe Republican congressional districts, increasing the likelihood that their preferred candidate would be defeated, according to an analysis by CLC’s predictive map measuring tool, PlanScore.org.
The district with the largest Latino population in the staff-proposed plan also has the strongest white bloc of voting in opposition to the Latino-preferred candidate of any area of the state. The Latino-preferred candidate is predicted to have less than a 1% chance of winning that district.
Similarly, the proposed maps for the state legislature would also make it harder for Latino voters to elect the candidates of their choice if they are adopted. These maps violate the state Constitution’s prohibition on districts that dilute Latino voters’ electoral influence.
In the comments submitted by CLC on LULAC’s behalf today, a new congressional plan is proposed. That map, viewable on CLC's website, would protect Latino voting rights by including a new District 8 in which Latino voters would have an ability to influence electoral outcomes.
Redistricting is a major issue for the Latino community and all communities of color because the 2020 census has shown that their numbers have increased significantly during the last decade.
Communities require equity in government representation so that their voices are heard and needs are met. It is vital that these communities be in a position where they are fairly represented in shaping the future on key issues like voting rights, economic equality, health care, education and climate change.
The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission should address the lack of representation for the state’s large Latino population. By ensuring that everyone’s voice and vote counts equally under the new voting maps, the commission can promote transparency and accountability in Colorado’s democracy.