The Weld County Board of County Commissioners and County Clerk are in the midst of redistricting our County. In case you missed it, here is the information contained in the postage stamp size announcement posted in the Tribune in January:
On January 23, 2023, the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, Colorado, held a public hearing to receive input from the public regarding changing the boundary lines of Commissioner Districts in Weld County, Colorado, as proposed by the Weld County Clerk and Recorder, to make the populations between the three Commissioner Districts nearly equal. The Resolution which would adopt the proposed boundary change will be considered for approval on March 1, 2023, at 9 a.m., and public comment will be considered. Copies of the map showing the proposed boundary change and resulting Commissioner Districts may be examined in the office of the Clerk to the Board, 1150 O Street, Greeley, Colorado 80631. Written comments are welcome and must be received prior to March 1, 2023 in the office of the Clerk to the Board, 1150 O Street Greeley, Colorado 80631. To ensure inclusion of email correspondence into the record, please send a copy to email@example.com.
Why should this be of importance to you? The voting wards/districts that the county draws boundaries for determines for who and how you can vote.
This year, the State of Colorado passed a law, HB21-1047 (County Commissioner Districts Gerrymandering), for conducting the redistricting process. Because Weld County is a Home Rule Charter county, this law is being mostly ignored for the purposes of redistricting our county.
The proposed map the County Clerk and Commissioners have proposed is almost identical to the map we have had for the past 10 years, despite the double-digit percentage of growth in Weld and Greeley. This proposed new map only changed 3 precincts.
This is important because the map gives enormous control to rural areas over urban areas and a 55% advantage to one party over the others. It is in no way competitive, which is an important point in the new state law.
The map does not take into consideration communities of interest, and the people drawing the map have the most to gain by keeping it as is. This is something else outlined in the new law. There should be an independent group doing the redistricting.
I want to bring this to the public’s attention, because it speaks to fairness. Gerrymandering is voter suppression.
When a clear advantage is given to one party over another, people tend to believe their vote won’t matter, there is no way to win so they don’t vote. They don’t just not vote for the county races, they don’t vote at all for anything which leads to more power for one party over another — a vicious cycle. Have you wondered why we generally have only one candidate running unopposed for County Commissioner?
Believe it or not, Weld County and Greeley are more competitive than has been presented. This year Democrats won Congressional, House District and State School Board races. We also have two parties represented on our City Council, which is only right.
Our county voting wards need to be competitive and they need to be the same size. Communities of interest need to be considered, the process should be transparent, and independent of those who can benefit from the process.
Thirty-plus years of one party dominating the entire Board of County Commissioners is evidence this process is completely biased and, well for lack of a better term, rigged.
If this fairness issue speaks to you, then let the Board of County Commissioners know how you feel.
If you want a say in what happens locally, you need to send your comments via email Egesick@weldgov.com.as soon as possible and plan to attend the commissioner meeting at 9:00 am on March 1st, at 1150 O Street, Greeley, CO 80631.
Current Weld County Commissioner District Map:
Greeley Area Proposed Redistricting Map