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Jeffco’s new district maps revealed | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

The Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder has unveiled the new district maps.

They are the result of redistricting, a process that the county undergoes every decade to determine where the new boundary lines for each district are drawn. This year, County Clerk and Recorder Amanda Gonzalez opened up the process to public input.

“Jeffco residents are the experts on their own communities,” Gonzalez said. “So, it was really important to engage community members in the map drawing process. They helped us understand their priorities and we made significant changes as a result of their input.”

Traditionally, according to the county clerk’s redistricting presentation, drawing the district lines happens in meetings that are only open to county and state officials. Gonzalez explained that in the state of Colorado, counties with five commissioners must open their process to public input.

“Jeffco only has three commissioners, so that didn’t apply to us,” Gonzalez said. “So, we had mostly the old process, which was the clerk could draw the map in a back room. And then, it could be voted on at a meeting where the commissioners say, ‘OK, where do I live? Yeah, that looks good to me.’”

She wanted something much more transparent and something that included the people who live in the county.

Gonzalez and her team started with the original district line map. Then, worked with Tufts University to create a mapping tool called Distrctr that allows county residents to create their own maps. The Clerk’s team then hosted a series of public meetings where Gonzalez explained the process, and how to use Distrctr. During those sessions, Gonzalez also took comments from everyone.

The maps, comments and suggestions were used to create a second map that Gonzalez presented to the Jefferson County Commissioners. On July 18, the commissioners drew up a third map that, according to the clerk’s office, “took the best parts of the first two maps and combined those with additional priorities they and their constituents have.”

After more public comments, Map 3 was created. The commissioners then voted to confirm the map that was released on Aug. 8.

Gonzalez added that the maps were created without consideration of partisan politics. 

“I purposefully didn’t look at the partisan lines in the various districts,” she said. “That was just important to me.”

She went on to explain that other concerns were more important, like urban/rural distinctions, wildfire-prone areas and other concerns from the public and the commissioners. 

According to a statement from the county clerk’s office, 45 community members attended the two public meetings. The office received 15 public comments and more than a dozen draft maps (which you can find on Distrctr). The clerk’s office statement shows that the redistricting message reached approximately 4,000 people on social media and about 13,000 people via email and individual outreach.

The resulting map is thus the reflection of the county clerk, the county commissioners and the county residents.

“Redistricting has a long history of being led by politicians, for politicians’ best interests, in closed meetings and back-room dealings,” Gonzalez said. “I’m so proud that Jeffco had the most transparent, most inclusive redistricting process in Colorado, and our map is better for it.”

The new maps will be used to define Jeffco’s commissioner districts starting this November through the next ten years.

For more information on redistricting, check out the Jeffco redistricting webpage.

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