On November 6th, 2018, Coloradoans voted to pass Amendments Y and Z, two key redistricting ballot initiatives made possible by the League and coalition partners in Colorado. Amendments Y and Z will create independent commissions to draw congressional and state legislative maps, set clear criteria that prohibits gerrymandering, and ensure fair and effective representation for all Colorado voters.
The LWV of Colorado played an instrumental role in this outcome, helping draft the language of the initiative, mobilizing coalition partners, educating the public about redistricting, and campaigning for support in the months leading up to the election. Through telephone town halls, educational forums, and a strategic media campaign, the League reached tens of thousands of voters across the state.
“The LWVCO was actively involved in the writing and passing of Amendments Y and Z, anti-gerrymandering measures,” said LWV of Colorado President Toni Larson. “The overwhelming success of the two measures was, in large part, due to the dedicated engagement of the League.”
The current congressional and general assembly districts drawn by the Colorado Legislature lack partisan fairness and transparency, and limits the electoral power of communities of interest. The successful passage of Amendments Y and Z is a crucial step towards ensuring a fair, transparent, independent redistricting process in Colorado after the 2020 Census. A good example of the impact of fair maps can be seen in Pennsylvania where new maps resulted in a more politically and gender representative delegation. While celebrating in this moment of achievement, the League’s work and involvement in this effort is far from complete. Implementation of not one, but two independent redistricting commissions will be a process.
The key takeaway is the power of voters to create a democracy that reflects their values. The League will continue monitoring that process through 2020 to ensure that momentum gained in this year’s midterm election continues to move redistricting efforts forward in Colorado. And the success of initiatives like Colorado, we hope will inspire other states to take the helm in advancing issues that reflect their own communities.