The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to rule on two cases related to state redistricting plans. They said that it was up to the states to deal with that issue. Therefore, the League of Women Voters now calls upon New Mexico policymakers to engage with the “good government” groups and the general public to develop a fair and transparent process for redistricting in 2021.
New Mexico has joined the vast number of states that have a state ethics commission, a great victory for transparency and accountability in government. Now, it is time for New Mexico to take the next step and join the growing number of states that have created objective, fair and transparent systems for redistricting so that constituents choose their representatives rather than having their representatives choose their constituents.
Redistricting takes place in the year following the decennial Census, and determines the congressional and state legislative districts. Fourteen states already have independent legislative redistricting commissions. At least six other states are considering adopting some type of redistricting reform prior to 2021.
In New Mexico, the Legislature determines the congressional and state legislative districts, as well as the Public Education Commission and Public Regulation Commission districts.
New Mexico has a long history of having its redistricting maps litigated and decided by the courts. From 1960 until 1991, New Mexico was forced to get pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice to (en)sure that the maps approved by the Legislature and the governor complied with federal standards for fair representation. In 1995, the DOJ once again required pre-clearance after the 1992 amended maps violated the standards.