Schedule of Events

“Best Practices in Redistricting” Conference

University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Colorado College

The goal of the conference is to bring together academics, practitioners, elected and appointed officials, and community members to prepare everyone to talk about the upcoming redistricting process from a position of knowledge, understanding the implications and necessity of choices when choosing among competing criteria, and demonstrating the effectiveness of working across divisions of discipline, geography, demographics, and political affiliation.

DRAFT SCHEDULE

3 April 2019

McHugh Commons, Colorado College, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

The history and process of electoral redistricting in Colorado will serve as a framework to discuss approaches to good redistricting.  Panels and speakers will consider topics including the history and implications of gerrymandering, what legally has to happen to implement the redistricting process as a result of passage of Amendments Y and Z in Colorado, as well as the role of journalists, legislators, and analysts.

Math Department Fearless Friday Seminar

In concert with the Math Department’s regular series, Thomas Weighill, a post-doctoral fellow at the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group at Tufts University, will share his expertise in the field of coarse geometry and the shape of data.

UCCS Downtown, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl will share her perspective on the importance of bringing balance to political conversations.  Part of the group, “Fair Maps Colorado”, which supported the passage of Amendments Y and Z in 2018, creating an independent commission to redraw congressional and state senate and house electoral districts, Regent Ganahl will offer background on the nuts and bolts of the process as well as on the benefits of intentionally speaking with people from different viewpoints.  There will be time for questions and discussion.

4 April 2019

Upper Lodge, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Geographers, mathematicians, political scientists, historians, journalists, and community members will continue the conversation begun at Colorado College to discuss the challenges of traditional redistricting criteria and how to use the information available to construct fair districts.

Contributors include:

Ryan Weichelt, a geography professor at the University of Wiscosin-Eau Claire, who will compare and contrast redistricting policies and the subsequent impacts on elections and electoral results.

Bill Theobald, a veteran journalist who has reported on every facet and level of government from city halls to the halls of Congress, will consider how Americans are recapturing and revitalizing American democracy from the bottom up and why there is plenty of hope amid all the gloom.

Susan Schulten, University of Denver Professor of History, will illuminate her perspective on history and hope in the American electoral process with evidence from her recent book, "A History of America in 100 Maps".

5 April 2019

Upper Lodge, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

The conference will conclude with additional information about geospatial technology tools and the role they will play in the upcoming process of redrawing electoral district maps.  Topics will include the technical aspects of conducting ensemble analysis and a comparison of professional redistricting software.

Wayne Williams, council member City of Colorado Springs and former Colorado Secretary of State, will share his perspective on the challenges of moving from theory to action in best practices in redistricting.

Diana Lavery, senior product engineer and applied demographer at Esri, will present redistricting tools, real-world success stories, and Esri statistical projects on Congressional boundaries and lifestyles.

Going forward from this conference we hope that participants will have gained new knowledge about the topic of redistricting, learned to appreciate a previously-unfamiliar disciplinary or political perspective, and made plans for continuing the discussion and undertaking education about the topic.