SANTA FE — The State Ethics Commission is seeking applicants to help draw New Mexico’s congressional and legislative districts based on new census data.
The application deadline is May 21.
The ethics commission — an independent agency within state government — is set to appoint three of the seven members to the newly created Citizen Redistricting Committee.
The applicants must fit certain criteria:
— Two of the ethics commission appointees cannot be members of the Democratic or Republican parties. But independents, Libertarians and members of minor parties may apply.
— The third ethics commission appointee must be a retired Court of Appeals judge or Supreme Court justice, who will serve as chair of the redistricting panel.
The commission is set to interview applicants and make its selections June 4. The new redistricting law goes into effect July 1.
The legislation calls for the seven-member group to hold a series of public meetings and propose new maps for New Mexico’s congressional and legislative districts.
The maps are set to be introduced during a special legislative session held late this year. Lawmakers will be free to pick maps adopted by the Citizen Redistricting Committee or make changes as they see fit.
The redistricting committee, in any case, cannot rely on partisan or party-registration data as it crafts the maps — a restriction intended to insulate its work from political considerations.
To apply for one of the State Ethics Commission appointments, visit the agency’s website — www.sec.state.nm.us — and click on the link at the top.
The other four members of the redistricting committee are set to be appointed by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders. Getting one selection each are House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe; House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia; Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque; and Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, R-Belen.