Time is running out to submit written comments on three commissioner redistricting proposals, according to a news release issued by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Written comments should be sent to Ryan Parsell at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, June 11. Comments submitted to the clerk and recorder’s office will be presented to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners at the June 18 board meeting, at which time the board will vote to accept one of three proposals. Colorado law requires commissioner district lines to be finalized by July 1.
“The boundaries by which commissioners are elected are an important part of our county government,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman in the release. “Commissioners make important decisions that affect the citizens of El Paso County on matters such as the county budget and land use. I invite all citizens to examine the three commissioner redistricting proposals and make their voice heard on their preference before the 30-day public comment period closes.”
Unlike the boundaries for U.S. Congressional or state House and Senate districts — which are drawn every 10 years — county commissioner district boundaries can be redrawn every two years to keep districts relatively equal in population, the release stated. In 2015, the deviation between county commissioner districts’ population was 4.1 percent, enough to warrant redistricting, the release said. Generally, commissioner districts should deviate by only 1-2 percent.
After consulting with various interested parties, the clerk’s office established a wide range of goals to fulfill through the redistricting process. The goals included: complying with the Colorado Constitution and Colorado law, not drawing a commissioner or commissioner candidate out of a district, aligning areas affected by the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires and resulting floods, preserving each district’s key features, creating districts that are geographically identifiable and increasing representation for eastern El Paso County.
With those goals in mind, the clerk and recorder’s office created three different redistricting proposals.
“With that amount of direction, it became apparent that no one plan would satisfy all of those goals,” Broerman said in the release. “In the past, clerks would only submit one plan for acceptance by the board of county commissioners. We felt that it is more transparent to propose multiple plans and have a community discussion about the districts before the commissioners vote.”
The three proposals were submitted to the commissioners May 12, which started the 30-day public comment period.