Connecting Colorado for Fair Redistricting: A Public Symposium and Call to Action

This event, sponsored by Colorado College, took place virtually on Saturday, September 19, 2020.  Click on the link above for a list of topics and participants.  A video of the entire day's proceedings is available on Youtube.

CANCELLED: Thanks to everyone who had agreed to share their expertise with the community.  The Coronavirus has disrupted this gathering, necessitating the cancelling of the 2020 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Denver.  Many geographers who were planning to present are now unable to attend. Colorado College is prohibiting gatherings of more than thirty people on campus.  The University of Colorado Colorado Springs has cancelled all on-campus activities until further notice.  Organizers are looking at options for future gatherings in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021.  While this topic is important to the health of our democratic republic, the health of community members is paramount at this time.  Questions?  Email Rebecca Theobald at

Best Practices in Redistricting

Discuss Apportionment and Redistricting in Colorado Springs in April 2020
With the recent Supreme Court decision about partisan gerrymandering devolving the issue to the states as well as continuing conversations about the health of the democratic process in the United States, we encourage active discussions about redistricting plans at all scales.  Whether you have been serving as an expert witness, drawing electoral boundary lines, or living in a gerrymandered district, join this conference to explore what actions we might take as researchers, academics, and community members to identify the best practices for ensuring proper geographic representation, recognizing the need to address equal population, contiguity, compactness, communities of interest, political boundaries, incumbent protection, competitiveness, party advantage, and the Voting Rights Act.

Best Practices in Redistricting: Case Studies from Colorado
The first day, Friday, April 3, will be devoted to using Colorado as a lens for understanding development within a state experiencing demographic growth and changes, examining practical challenges to a fair representation process. It is expected that Colorado will gain one seat in the House of Representatives, necessitating multiple changes in Congressional District boundaries. The state also passed constitutional amendments creating an independent commission for state and congressional redistricting. As with the United States as a whole, Colorado has urban centers and rural areas, is increasingly ethnically diverse, and is experiencing the aging of its population. There will be time to hear from students, community members, experts, public servants, and researchers as well as opportunities for conversation among all participants.

Best Practices in Redistricting: The Role of Geography
The subsequent two days, Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5, will focus on approaches to bridging theory and practice in Colorado and beyond. We will not schedule concurrent sessions as we think all need to hear the same information. We seek presentations on the history of gerrymandering, the role of geospatial technology and mathematical analysis, classroom and community engagement, grassroots efforts (e.g. Voters Not Politicians in Michigan, Draw the Lines PA), serving as expert witnesses, approaches to redistricting in international contexts, and redistricting at scales beyond that of the federal congressional district (e.g. state senate and house districts, county and city governing bodies, school districts, and planning boards). This conference is designed to inform political parties, bipartisan commissions, media, and the general public about the geographic and demographic knowledge, political analysis, and computer mapping skills that are necessary for constructing impartial legislative districts.


About the Program

Where is the conference being held?

On Friday, the conference will take place on the Colorado College campus at the Jerome P. McHugh Commons and Alumni Plaza in the John Lord Knight Apartments at 1090 North Cascade Avenue. Accessible entrances are on the west side near The Preserve and office.


Friday evening’s reception will take place at UCCS Downtown at 102 South Tejon Street, Suite 105A ( This location is about 1.4 miles from McHugh Commons, with options to walk either through the park or through the neighborhood. Parking information for UCCS Downtown is available here:


On Saturday and Sunday, the conference will take place at the Upper Lodge. Parking on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus is free on Saturday and Sunday. The Upper Lodge is located on the west side of the Summit Village housing area. See building "LODG" on the campus map at The Upper Lodge is located on the second level.

How will this conference approach difficult partisan issues?

We will be respectful of all perspectives.

Is this the annual Political Geography Specialty Group Pre-conference for the American Association of Geographers?

No, that event is being held at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Here is a link to the information page.

Is there public transportation to and within Colorado Springs?

If you are flying to the AAG Conference in Denver, there are shuttle services from the Denver International Airport to Colorado Springs, as well as limited bus service from downtown Denver and from the Denver Tech Center which can be accessed from the RTD light rail system.


In Colorado Springs, there is very limited bus service.  Fortunately, there is a Mountain Metro Transit bus directly from downtown, which goes by Colorado College and on to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus (Route 9).

Is there a designated conference hotel?

Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel and Spa, Downtown Colorado Springs, 8 South Nevada Avenue

UCCS - Redistricting Conference Group Block Reservations


Questions?  Guests may also reach out to Andrel Huliganga, Reservations Manager, at 719-323-2000 or via email at to reserve a room.


This hotel is situated near the downtown conference sites and near the bus station with easy access to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.  If you are traveling with a car, you may wish to consider other hotels in the area.


Additional information on visiting Colorado Springs can be find at this website:

Who will be organizing our conversations?

Stan Brunn, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky, Department of Geography

Richard Morrill, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Department of Geography (in absentia)

Rebecca Theobald, Assistant Research Professor, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Beth Malmskog, Assistant Professor, Colorado College, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Sara Hagedorn, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Department of Political Science

Register to Attend the Conference

If you plan to attend the conference, please register here. You may attend one day or all three days, depending on your interest and schedule. Additional details about registration will be forthcoming.

This conference is taking place directly prior to the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Denver, April 6 - 10, 2020. We have modeled the event on gatherings organized by the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group at Tufts University and the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University, bringing together people from varied viewpoints who are willing to learn from others, talk about next steps, and return to their communities to provide leadership.

Tentative Schedule and Locations

Friday, April 3 - Colorado College and UCCS Downtown

8:30 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday, April 4 - University of Colorado Colorado Springs

8:30 am - 7:00 pm

Sunday,  April 5 - University of Colorado Colorado Springs

8:30 am - 1:00 pm

Additional details about the program and schedule are available here.

Sponsors include:

Colorado College:  Office of the President / Department of Mathematics / Department of Political Science

University of Colorado Colorado Springs: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies / Faculty Minority Affairs Committee / Kraemer Family Library