BY FREDA MIKLIN
Colorado law requires that county commissioner districts must be redrawn every 10 years based on the Decennial Census. Although the last Census was completed as of 2020, there was a nationwide delay in receiving the data. As a result, the Colorado State Legislature delayed the process for counties to perform the redistricting process, which will be completed this year. New county commissioner district boundaries will be in effect for the 2024 election.
To perform the nonpartisan process of redistricting, late last year, the previous Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) interviewed and selected three Republicans, three Democrats, and three unaffiliated Arapahoe County voters, along with three alternates, to serve on the Arapahoe County Redistricting Advisory Committee. Criteria used for selecting members included civic interest, experience working with others to reach outcomes or decisions, and commitment to a fair and equitable process.
Advisory Committee members are Bill McCartin, Chair, Diana Holland, Vice-Chair, Carolyn Boller, Mike Dell’Orfano, Karen Fisher, Carson Green, Dave Kerber, Debra Johnson, and Stephanie Piko. Alternates are Freda Miklin, Caroline Penaloza, and Mary Jo Vobejda.
Upon the completion of its work, the Committee will submit to the BOCC no fewer than three proposed county commissioner district maps for consideration for adoption by the BOCC. To the extent possible, maps must incorporate specific decision-making criteria outlined in state law. They include population equality among the districts (131,288 each is the goal based on current data), preservation of communities of interest (e.g., city boundaries), and compactness. To the extent reasonably possible, districts should also be politically competitive, which has been defined as, “having a reasonable potential for the party affiliation of the district’s county commissioner to change at least once” in a ten-year period. Districts may not be drawn for the purposes of protecting an incumbent commissioner or a declared candidate for commissioner.
The Committee held its first official meeting on January 24 and currently plans to have ten additional meetings in the three months ended April 24, but that could change it the Committee determines more or fewer are necessary to get its work done. All meetings are open to the public. The specific dates, times, and locations are available on the county’s website. During the time it is meeting, the committee will develop proposed maps. Members of the public are also free to present proposed maps to the Committee through April 28.
June 16, 2023 – deadline for the Advisory Committee to have held at least five public hearings (one in each commissioner district) to receive public feedback, and to have created, presented, and published online at least three plans for consideration by the BOCC.
July 21, 2023 – deadline for any member of the BOCC to request additional plans or amendments to propose plans.
August 3, 2023 – last date for the public to submit written comments through the Arapahoe County website.
August 8, 2023 – deadline for the adoption of a final plan by the BOCC.
Editor’s Note: Freda Miklin, Villager Newspaper Government Reporter and former Greenwood Village City Council member, serves as an alternate on the Redistricting Committee.