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NM Redistricting Map Sent to Governor for Approval

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Monday, December 13, 2021   

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Legislature has settled on a new redistricting map based on 2020 census data, but it is not one recommended by the Citizen Redistricting Committee, newly established by lawmakers earlier this year.

Dick Mason, Action Committee chair for the League of Women Voters of New Mexico, applauded members of the House of Representatives for advancing one of the three maps, but said the Senate did not, and he is eager to learn how the map will be rated by nonpartisan groups who follow the process.

"We don't evaluate the map," Mason explained. "It is going to considerably change the political landscape in New Mexico. Some people think that's a positive, some think that's a negative."

The new map overhauls the state's three congressional districts, favoring Democrats in all three, according to an analysis commissioned by the Legislature.

During a special session that ended Saturday, Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, said the map will diminish political influence of the state's rural residents. Two of the three districts are currently represented by Democrats.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project grades maps on competitiveness, geography and partisan fairness.

Sam Wang, member of the Princeton Election Consortium and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, advised the New Mexico group tasked with proposing maps.

"No matter what the composition of the commission is, the commission of course has a duty to do its best to represent communities all across New Mexico," Wang contended.

This year's redistricting process marks the first time in 30 years Democrats have controlled both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor's office. Not surprisingly, the Senate vote fell along partisan lines, 25-15.

Mason noted the state's League of Women Voters has asked lawmakers to disclose why they did not choose one of the commission-recommended maps.

"We have issued a letter to the Democratic leadership in the New Mexico Senate, saying to them, 'We want a detailed explanation," Mason emphasized. "What you have changed and why you changed it.'"

The new map now goes to Gov. Michelle Luján Grisham for approval.

Disclosure: Fair Representation in Redistricting contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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