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Latino Groups Win Effort To See Congress Maps

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One of the proposed maps (credit: CBS)

One of the proposed maps (credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP)- New proposed congressional district lines for Colorado will be made public later this month after Latino groups succeeded in an effort to force Democrats and Republicans to show how they want to redraw the state’s seven House districts.

The Denver Post reports that Denver Chief Judge Robert Hyatt ordered the political parties to produce their proposed maps by Aug. 22. Hyatt will hear the redistricting lawsuit in October.

The Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and the Colorado Latino Forum have joined the lawsuit filed by Republicans and Democrats over redistricting. The groups say they want to see the proposed maps to review whether they dilute Hispanic voting power.

Attorney Mark Grueskin, who represents seven Democrats who filed suit over redistricting, opposed the motion.

“I’m uncertain as to what the reluctance of the Democrats is at this point,” attorney Gina Rodriguez told the newspaper after the hearing Friday. “All our goal is, is to find out what the parties are proposing and advocating so we can take a position.”

Redistricting is headed to court because Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature could not agree on new district lines. Parties in the lawsuit will propose new district lines, which must be updated every 10 years to account for population change. Redistricting is politically charged because both parties try to make sure district lines don’t hurt their chances at the polls.

Rodriguez’s firm, Faegre & Benson, is working with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to represent the two Latino groups.

The 2010 U.S. Census showed Latino growth, Rodriguez said, so any map that would “dilute the Hispanic vote or compact it would be of concern.”

Grueskin said his opposition was that Latino groups and the other parties that joined the suit wanted Democrats and Republicans to release their maps as soon as possible, but didn’t want to release their proposed congressional boundaries until a month later.

“All parties ought to disclose on the same date, whatever that date is,” Grueskin said.

Hyatt ordered those other groups in the lawsuit to share their proposals by Sept. 2.

Richard Westfall?, who represents the Republicans in the case, told the newspaper said he understands why outside parties want to see the Democratic and Republican maps as soon as possible.

“They want to know if they have a real heartburn or if they don’t,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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