The U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated people where they are confined not where they are from. Using these counts to draw state and county legislative districts enhances the weight of a vote cast by people who live near prisons at the expense of everyone else in the state or county.
Current Session — ending prison gerrymandering in state legislative districts:
- HB 20-1010, "Colorado Accurate Residence for Redistricting Act", sponsored by Rep. K. Tipper and Rep. J. Coleman, filed on January 8, 2020. Passed the House on February 6, 2020 and the Senate on February 25, 2020; and was signed into law by Governor Polis on March 20, 2020.
Past Sessions — ending prison gerrymandering in local governments:
Senate Bill 02-007 Concerning County Commissioner Redistricting, sponsored by Senator Hillman, and Representatives Kester, Garcia, and Hoppe, and approved by the Governor on March 27, 2002, prohibits counties from using prison populations when drawing county commissioner districts.
House Bill 04-1230, Concerning the Election of School District Directors from Director Districts, sponsored by representatives Hall, May M., Crane, Fairbank, Lundberg, Mitchell, Rose, Williams S., Williams T., Cadman, Garcia, Hefley, Lee, and Vigil and Senator Jones, and approved by the Governor on April 21, 2004, prohibits school districts from using prison populations when drawing school director districts.
- Additionally, Colorado municipalities avoid prison gerrymandering on their own despite lacking a direct statutory directive to do so. For example, the cities of Brighton, Cañon, Centennial, Golden, and Sterling all would have had significant prison gerrymandering in their city council districts if they had not adjusted their redistricting data.
Organizations in Colorado
It’s impossible to include everyone who is working toward fair districting in Colorado, but if you are looking to get involved, these are some of the people and organizations you might want to contact:
Before the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs on February 19, 2020