Fairness, Transparency Urged as NM Redistricting Advances
Friday, September 3, 2021
SANTA FE, N.M. -- In less than two weeks, proposed maps will be available to New Mexico residents who are following the once-a-decade redrawing of U.S. congressional and state legislative boundaries. The process, known as redistricting, will shape voting districts for the next 10 years.
New Mexico's seven-member Citizen Redistricting Committee, established by an act signed into law this year, has been gathering public input in recent weeks.
Dick Mason, Action Committee chair for League of Women Voters of New Mexico, said the group is pushing for as much transparency as possible.
"On September 16th, they're going to be publishing the concept maps," Mason explained. "And then after that, they're going to go out with public meetings with these concept maps to get people's input on those maps."
Advocates for fair redistricting say it is supposed to preserve communities of common interest, especially important in New Mexico, where nearly 48% of respondents to the 2020 Census identified ancestry linked to Latin America and other Spanish-speaking areas; the largest percentage of any U.S. state.
Mason noted the state has a long history of having its redistricting maps litigated and decided by the courts, which is why it is important everyone is unified over the final map.
"And we also want to be sure that, particularly the Native Americans, their wishes are paid attention to," Mason asserted. "Between the Pueblos and the Navajo Nation, and the Apache reservations."
Based on limited population growth in the past 10 years, the state will have three congressional districts, the same as it had following the 2010 Census.
For the first time in 30 years, Democrats outnumber Republicans in both houses of the Legislature, and the governor is also a Democrat. A special legislative session to review maps is tentatively scheduled for the first week of December.
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