Gallup Sun

Sunday, Feb 25th

Last update05:25:52 PM GMT

You are here: News Politics Redistricting can make a big impact on voters

Redistricting can make a big impact on voters

E-mail Print PDF

Choices from the Chamber of Commerce to the Navajo Nation under consideration

The New Mexico Redistricting Committee is moving toward final choices for voting districts in N.M.

Early this year the N.M. State Legislature passed a Redistricting Act which, according to the Redistricting website, “empowers the committee to develop district maps that allow New Mexico voters to choose their elected representatives, not the other way around.”

The stated purpose of the committee is to perform the ten-year district realignment for the U. S. House of Representatives, the New Mexico Senate, the New Mexico House of Representatives, and the New Mexico Public Education Commission. At least three alternative proposals are to be submitted to the N.M. Legislature by October 20 for each of these four bodies.

The committee includes four members chosen by political party leadership, while the N.M. Ethics Commission appointed the committee chair, the Honorable Edward Chavez, a former N.M. Supreme Court judge.

The Ethics Commission also appoints two members who are not affiliated with the two largest political parties in the state. The composition pretty well assures that neither political party can do much gerrymandering to favor their own group. In that regard, the composition is stellar.

There are 10 options on the table for the state’s three congressional districts and nine for  state senate boundaries.

One plan was submitted by Bill Lee on behalf of the Gallup-McKinley Chamber of Commerce and there is one from Mr. Leonard Gorman who is with the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

There are five options for Public Education District boundaries at this time. One of these, PEC Concept E was submitted by Mr. Leonard Gorman, chairman of the Navajo Human Rights Commission. All of these plans preserve the NW corner of NM in one district, but with minor changes along the boundaries.

For the NM Legislative boundaries, there are currently ten alternatives before the Commission at this time. This shows the amount of interest and public participation in the process, as well as the disparity of views. As with the State Senate submittals, there is a plan submitted by Bill Lee on behalf of the Gallup-McKinley Chamber of Commerce and one from Mr. Leonard Gorman. All of these include either 5 or six Native American rich voting districts.

For more information and to see the images of the plans go to nmredistricting.org/mapconcepts/

By Mike Daly
Sun Contributor