If the Colorado Reapportionment Commission’s initial House district plan had received final approval from Colorado Supreme Court, this story would have been ranked higher than number 10.
If that plan had been approved, San Miguel County would have been split in half, with the east end and Ouray County joining Durango in House District 59. At the same time, the west end of San Miguel County and Cortez would have joined the city of Montrose in District 58. That alignment would have combined relatively like-minded mountain communities in one district and relatively like-minded rural farming towns in the other. While the addition of Cortez and Mancos would not have brought about a significant political shift in District 58, the combination of losing Cortez and adding Telluride and Ouray County would likely have resulted in a more competitive political environment in District 59.
Ultimately, those major changes were not to be, as the Colorado Supreme Court rejected the plan.
In early December, the Supreme Court did approve a plan that shifts Ouray County from District 58 to 59, resulting in minor House political implications for the region. The population equalization process for Montrose and San Miguel counties’ commissioner districts meant few changes as well.
The largest impact local redistricting had was in Ouray County where the plan effectively redistricted Commissioner Heidi Albritton out of her district, but because she’s term-limited, it was seen as a non-issue.
Other census-related stories The Watch reported in 2011 included the announcement that Montrose County was not required by law to print its ballots or other voting materials in Spanish, and that population numbers grew for the entire Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel County region last year, with the largest growth occurring in Montrose, Ridgway and Mountain Village.