The New Mexico Redistricting Task Force reconvenes in 2022 to continue the work!

The NM Redistricting Task Force was formed in October 2020. The group included 25 stakeholders, including retired members of the judiciary, state legislators from both chambers and major political parties, researchers, voting rights advocates, and good government stakeholders. Task force members met from October through December 2020. Their work was informed by many guest speakers and published resources, including a background report by New Mexico First about redistricting and why civic engagement is important to the process. The report can be downloaded below.

Redistricting

Every ten years, in conjunction with the U.S. Census, our nation undertakes the redistricting process to establish voting boundaries for multiple elected offices. In New Mexico that includes the U.S. Congress, the state legislature, and the Public Education Commission. In past cycles, New Mexico’s redistricting process encountered numerous hurdles and court challenges. To prevent those problems in 2021, New Mexico First convened a statewide task force to research redistricting practices and offer recommendations.

The Task Force released a final report with 18 consensus-based recommendations in December 2020. The group’s overarching conclusion was that the New Mexico State Legislature should adopt legislation to improve the openness, transparency, and fairness of political redistricting. The task force found that the lack of firm legal criteria created too much ambiguity and mistrust in the redistricting process and added to the challenges disenfranchised communities must navigate. The recommendations report can be accessed below. For more information, please navigate to the 2020 Task Force page.

During the 2021 legislative session, the NM Redistricting Act was passed in 2021 and included elements contained in the group’s recommendations. Through the Redistricting Act, the NM Citizen Redistricting Committee was created, and within a few short months committee members had traveled twice around the state and held two rounds of public meetings, for a total of 16 public meetings. The committee adopted and presented to the NM State Legislature three maps each for the NM congressional delegation, the NM Senate, the NM House of Representatives, and the NM Public Education Commission. Learn more on the NM Citizen Redistricting Committee website.

The NM Redistricting Task Force’s Work in 2022

This second phase of the group’s work will examine which of the 18 recommendations have been addressed, which unmet recommendations ought to be prioritized for the 2023 legislative session, and whether revisions are warranted. The first meeting took place on April 20, 2022. Dates and times of the remaining 4 meetings is below. The public may observe, and there will be time for public comment at the end of each meeting.

Members of the Redistricting Task force are: Merritt Allen (Tijeras); David Buchholtz, Rodey Law Firm (Albuquerque); Ahtza Chavez, NAVA Education Project (Albuquerque); N.M State Representative Rebecca Dow, (T or C); N.M. State Representative Kelly Fajardo (Los Lunas); Jeremy Farris, NM Ethics Commission (Albuquerque); N.M. State Representative Natalie Figueroa (Albuquerque); Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group PR Firm, (Albuquerque); Leonard Gorman, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission (Navajo Nation); C. Earl Greer, NM Farm and Livestock Bureau (Elephant Butte); Anita Hand, Catron County Commission (Datil); Mario Jimenez III, Common Cause NM (Santa Fe); Carmen Lopez, State Innovation Exchange (Santa Fe); Dick Mason, League of Women Voters (Santa Fe); N.M. State Senator Mark Moores (Albuquerque); N.M State Senator Bill O’Neill (Albuquerque); N.M. State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (Albuquerque); Cedric Page, Santa Fe Branch NAACP (Santa Fe); N.M. State Representative Shannon Pinto (Tohatchi); Maureen Skowran, TargetSmart (Albuquerque); Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, Dream Givers LLC (Clovis); N.M. State Representative Jim Townsend (Artesia). We thank them for their service.

Task Force meeting dates and Zoom info are below.

Members of the public are requested to hold their comments (voice and “chat”) until the public comment period at the end of each meeting.

  • April 20, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
  • May 6, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • May 20, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
    • Agenda:
      • Welcome, Insights and Direction
      • Upcoming call with Colorado League of Women Voters
      • Discussion: Task Force Deliverables
      • Next Steps
      • Public Comment
      • Adjourn
  • June 8, 3:00 – 4:00 pm
  • June 24,1:00 – 2:00 pm [task force to determine whether this meeting will take place]

Below is the Zoom information for the May and June meetings:

For more information, please contact Sharon Berman at sharon@nmfirst.org.

2022 New Mexico Redistricting Evaluation Project. BSP Research and Redistricting Partners are currently putting the final touches on their evaluation of the redistricting process from 2020 through the 2022 legislative session. Their report will be released in the spring of 2022.

For more information, please contact Sharon Berman at sharon@nmfirst.org.