New county commissioner districts proposed

Douglas County looks to eliminate split precincts

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In an effort to ensure no precincts in Douglas County are split between two commissioner districts, Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith has proposed minor changes to the board of county commissioners that would re-establish district lines prior to the 2014 election.

The commissioner districts were last redrawn in 2011 as a result of the 2010 census, but following the state and federal redistricting that was done, six Douglas County precincts wound up split between Jack Hilbert’s District 1 to the north and Roger Partidge’s District 2 to the south.

“A precinct has to be entirely within a single U.S. Congressional district, a single U.S. Senate district and entirely in a state House and state Senate district,” Arrowsmith said. “You can’t split within two of any of those districts. … So we had to go back and redraw our precincts again inside of the lines of state and U.S. House and Senate districts, and once we redesigned our precincts we discovered that our original districts had certain precincts that sat in more than one commissioner district.”

And while it is legal to split a precinct between two commissioners, Arrowsmith said it makes administration easier to have each precinct in one commissioner district, and that his proposal is basically a clean-up effort that has taken into account population as well as the tidying up of some of the district boundaries that spanned communities.

In addition to ensuring that there would be just one commissioner per precinct, the proposed change would also place the Highlands Ranch Open Space Conservation Area on the southwest side of Highlands Ranch, currently in District 2, into Jill Repella’s District 3, where the rest of Highlands Ranch is. The Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which was recently annexed into Parker, would also move out of District 2 and into District 1, where the remainder of all Parker addresses would be with the proposed changes.

Because of the change involving the OSCA space, there would be one new precinct created, bringing the total number of precincts in the county up to 145. Additionally, the number of households would remain close to even with 36,967 in District 1, 36,877 in District 2 and 36,029 in District 3.

“I think we are right on target here,” said Hilbert. “The entire town of Parker is in one specific district and we get the OSCA open space of Highlands Ranch into the district that oversees Highlands Ranch. That’s good.”

Partridge also supported the changes, saying that the clerk and recorder’s office made a complicated process look easy and that he could only imagine how good they all are at jigsaw puzzles.

Repella was not present when the clerk and recorder’s office presented the proposed changes at the May 14 commissioners’ meeting.

To see a more detailed map of the proposed changes, please visit www.douglas.co.us/elections.

Public comment on the proposed districts is open until June 13. Citizens can mail comment to Clerk and Recorder, Elections Division, 125 Stephanie Place, Castle Rock, CO 80109, email elections@douglas.co.us, or call 303-663-6279.

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