Denver City Council begins redistricting process

July 28, 2021 / Comments (0)

General News

Your input is encouraged!

Every 10 years, when the U.S. Census releases its data, Denver City Council leads a process to re-draw council district boundaries. The goal of the process is to create council district that have roughly equal populations, are compact and keep residents of established neighborhoods in the same council district.

That process begins July 24 with the launch of the Define Your Denver map drive. City Council is encouraging citizens of Denver to visit representable.org to map our what they consider their community of interest to be. There are also a few brief questions to answer.

City Council will use the information submitted by Denver residents to help them determine where district boundary lines should be drawn.

Current Denver City Council districts drawn in the 2012. Click on image to enlarge.

“It is my honor to be the chair of the redistricting process, Map Your Denver, for Denver City Council. Redistricting provides residents the opportunity to help shape how Council boundaries are created for the next generation of Denverites,” said Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval, chair of the redistricting workgroup. “With the help of innovative tools such as Representable.org created by Princeton University students we hope it provides an opportunity to give power to the people to create a more representative Denver. We are ready to undertake this great responsibility and are eager to see how residents map their communities.”

The map drive will be active until early fall. Once the new Census data is available Sept. 30, the drawing of district maps will begin. A public mapping tool for this phase of the process will be launched and a series of public meetings will be scheduled. City Council is expected to vote on new boundaries in March 2022.

For more information, please visit denvergov.org/redistricting or email questions to [email protected].

Published on Denvergov.org on July 24, 2021


Here is an opportunity to comment/provide input here from District 5 City Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer:

This is just a friendly reminder to share and take, if you haven’t already, our brief survey regarding redistricting and City Council. We’ll be closing the survey on Monday, August 9th and we’d like to gather as many responses as we can to get the best idea of what folks are thinking.

The short link to the survey is bit.ly/DenRedistricting or you can access it by following this link.

Thanks again for helping us with this and we’re excited to share the results!

Sincerely,

The District 5 Team


Additional information on the redistricting issue and opportunity to comment/provide input here from At-large City Councilwoman Robin Kniech:

Dear Constituents,

I’m writing to inform you of a proposal to eliminate two of your three council representatives. Denver’s long-standing City Council structure has balanced district councilmembers elected by and accountable to specific geographic areas with two at-large members who represent and are accountable to the entire city. Several councilmembers are backing a proposal to eliminate the at-large seats. I have no self-interest in opposing this proposal: I will be termed out in 2023 as will my counterpart Councilwoman Ortega. But I care passionately about this city and I know you do too. The people of Denver deserve more transparency and information about this proposal, and an opportunity to weigh in on this proposed change before a vote is rushed through Council before an August 31 deadline to refer any Charter changes to the ballot.

There are several ways you can weigh in on this proposal: 

  1. Communicate with your district councilmember directly or email the entire council at [email protected]
  1. Attend or sign up to speak at the Finance and Governance Committee on Tuesday, August 10. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. Attend the meeting in person in Council Chambers (4th floor of the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St.) or register to attend the meeting via zoom. You can also sign up to speak either in person or via zoom on August 10.

Additional Background:

The legacy of at-large councilmembers includes: 

  • Anti-discrimination ordinances that were among the first in the nation to protect gay and lesbian residents.
  • Funding and a Crime Prevention and Control Commission that created many successful alternatives to arrest or incarceration.
  • Three quarters of a billion dollars in funding for housing and homelessness by 2030.
  • Denver’s first construction apprenticeship training and targeted hiring requirements to ensure public construction really benefits those who need jobs the most in our city.
  • Keeping a major hospital and emergency room in central Denver from moving to the suburbs.
  • Champions for child welfare and human services systems, or assets like mountain parks, that don’t fit neatly into district boundary priorities.

The question is not whether district or at-large members are “better” — each is important to our City and community, sometimes in similar ways (responding to constituent requests or vetting/voting on ordinances), and sometimes in different ways (deep expertise in district projects vs. more focus on citywide policy). Frankly, much of the very limited debate so far has been about what structure is best for councilmembers. But the question we should be asking is whether the City and people of Denver are better off with only a single district representative?

A few other considerations:

  • At-large offices have traditionally absorbed constituent work and supported district offices especially when vacancies have occurred (at least 4 have occurred in recent history).
  • Having citywide councilmembers strengthens the council overall as a body and enhances the balance of power vis a vis sharing the same citywide purview as a very strong mayor.
  • With 13 members, Denver’s city council is already larger than almost all of our peer cities (which typically range between 5-11 councilmembers) and Denver already has fewer constituents per district on average than peer cities.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more.

Forward. Together.
Councilwoman Robin Kniech

 

Leave a Reply