COLORADO- This past legislative session, lawmakers unanimously agreed on two ballot questions to change the way election districts are drawn in the state.
The questions, which you’ll see on your ballot this November will be listed as Amendments Y & Z.
Every year after the U.S. Census is released, lawmakers draw the districts that determine which races you’ll vote in for state house, senate, and congressional seats.
These amendments will take that responsibility away from lawmakers, and as supporters say, will end gerrymandering.
‘Finally a very substantial chunk of the electorate will have their votes count,’ said Kent Thiry, an organizer with Fair Maps Colorado , who’s behind the ballot questions.
If voters approve the questions in November, it will create a commission to draw the maps.
‘This is about having a democracy that still works,’ said Thiry.
The commission will be made up of four Democrats, four Republicans, and four Unaffiliated members.
The members, will be selected by a panel of retired judges.
‘It’s totally unreasonable to ask elected officials to draw their own lines, it would be like asking you to set your own salary,’ said Thiry.
Still, as is the case with most ballot questions, it’s not being met without opposition.
Douglas Bruce , no stranger to Colorado politics and a self-proclaimed ‘taxpayer advocate’ says this isn’t the answer to end gerrymandering.
‘It’s not perfect, it’s a bad idea and the Republicans got taken, bamboozled, hood-winked’ said Bruce.
Bruce claims it’s not a fair process as Colorado has elected mostly Democrat Governors who’ve appointed judges.
Additionally, Bruce argues the commission doesn’t allow representation for members of smaller parties such as Libertarians and the American Constitution party.
‘I’ve never heard of such a thing of putting in the constitution a denial of protection and actual discrimination,’ said Bruce.
Thiry, who played an integral role in getting a ballot measure passed to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections, believes this will open up more opportunities for votes to count.
‘By having redistricting reform, we actually have all Democrats, Republicans, and Independents vote, votes matter more than they do now,’ said Thiry.
Currently, lawmakers draw the legislative and congressional districts, and a common criticism of the process claims the party in power protects the incumbents and the party.