What is the history of Broomfield ward boundary redistricting?

    Before 2019, Broomfield would adjust its wards periodically as needed. Previous adjustments were made in 2003, 2009, and 2015.

    What laws govern the process?

    Broomfield Charter and Municipal Code both require ward boundary redistricting. Amendment 14 of the U.S. Constitution and subsequent court cases have given guidelines for what variances between ward populations are acceptable and what criteria may be used in drawing ward boundaries.

    When is Broomfield adjusting ward boundaries?

    In 2019, Broomfield Council enacted an ordinance (4-04-10) which put into place the current practice of reviewing ward boundaries after each municipal election to ensure that all Broomfield voters have equal representation. The goal is to have new ward boundary lines effective after the 2020 General Election.

    Why just before a presidential election?

    Ward boundaries do not affect how the state or federal elections are run. Ward boundaries are only applicable to a municipal election. Ward boundaries are adjusted in advance of the municipal election cycle (before candidates announce their intentions to run for Councilmember or Mayor).

    Why not wait until after the 2020 Census?

    Rapid growth in the northeast and southwest corners of Broomfield have caused Broomfield wards to have very unbalanced populations. Unfortunately, Broomfield is unable to wait until after the census to stay within compliance of federal guidelines. Broomfield’s Community Development division has very reliable population data within the City and County’s boundaries, oftentimes MORE reliable than the census (which currently has only about a 75% response rate).

    What factors are included in adjusting ward boundaries?

    The criteria for adjusting boundaries is legally driven. Broomfield’s home rule Charter, Section 4.2 and Municipal Code Chapter 4-04 require: 

    • Five (5) wards of approximately the same number of voters
    • Councilmembers must not be excluded from their current ward 
    • Wards of contiguous and compact shape

    The Supreme Court has also provided guidance for boundary adjustment which City Council has refined. These are the same criteria the City and County of Broomfield has used since 2003:

    • Ward boundaries utilize recognizable physical features like streets and parks
    • Minimize the number of precinct splits to improve voter secrecy
    • Account for projected growth in population
    • Attempt to keep neighborhoods together
    • Follow, as closely as practicable, school district and special district boundaries

    Does Broomfield consider political affiliation, race, socio-economic or education levels when redistricting?

    No. Constructing districts based around any of these factors is an indication of gerrymandering. Broomfield’s GIS team works very hard to be objective when constructing ward boundaries and only consider legal factors listed under the previous question. The purpose of redistricting is to provide substantially equal representation (one person, one vote) without advantaging or disadvantaging different groups.

    Does this change which school district I live in?

    Ward boundaries adjustments do NOT change your school district or any other special district you may live within. 

    What is the population variance allowed?

    The Supreme Court has determined that a population variance between the smallest and the largest ward should not exceed 10%, and that voting districts should be adjusted at least every ten years if this variance is exceeded.

    Why use population estimates?

    Constitutionally, using populations as an estimate is permissible and has been the usual practice. Did the drafters of Broomfield’s Charter intend something different by use of the word voter? Since as far as we can determine, every redistricting since the Charter was adopted has used population as the basis for redrawing ward boundaries, history, practice and written evidence from officials at the time the Charter was adopted suggests that the adopters of the Charter found the use of population an acceptable method of determining “approximately the same number of voters” in each ward. To paraphrase Justice Ginsburg, there is no compelling reason to cast aside a well-functioning and Constitutionally sound approach to redistricting that Broomfield has consistently followed for many years.

    Why is my neighborhood split in a few of these possible changes?

    Broomfield strives to keep neighborhoods intact, but some neighborhoods have very high population density and make that difficult.

    Why not split the county at Hwy 7 and make that Ward 5?

    That split seems very logical at first glance. Unfortunately, that ward would not contain enough voters.

    My neighborhood has a very strong relationship with our Councilmember. Can I stay within that ward?

    Broomfield’s active population and Councilmembers do form strong working relationships. Unfortunately, because of the shape and population of Broomfield, some neighborhoods will have to move to a different ward to satisfy federal guidelines.

    Why not add a sixth ward?

    Broomfield Charter requires five wards. To add a sixth ward would require an amendment to the home rule Charter and would need to be approved by the voters of Broomfield.

    They look similar. What is the real difference between them?

    The differences in the maps are indeed slight. To really see the differences, click on the maps and the data matrix for each map to further explore the population differences between the maps.

    What is the schedule for review before Council?

    Council is scheduled to review on July 21, 2020.  The changes will be made to be effective after the November 3, 2020 election but before January 1, 2021.