A citizen panel charged with recommending once-in-a-decade changes to Albuquerque’s political boundaries has decided not to narrow the options and will instead forward eight different maps to the City Council.
The city’s 2022 Redistricting Committee voted to advance every option it was still considering as its service came to a close last week.
That means the council — which has the final say over where to draw political lines — will look at maps that make only minor tweaks to the nine current districts as well as some that include more profound changes.
The council — which redistricts every 10 years based on the results of the U.S. Census — will begin deliberations on the proposals in September.
The committee’s decision to give the council eight maps was a close call; it passed on a 5-4 vote.
In voting to advance them all, committee member David Buchholtz noted that the council is never obligated to heed the committee’s advice. He said he was comfortable forwarding all eight maps, including some submitted by members of the public.
“Given that the council takes recommendations from us, can do what it likes with the recommendations and can make its own decisions, I think it’s better that they see all of our work including the work of the people who worked hard on things that I did not approve of — (though) I appreciate their work,” Buchholtz said. “The council will be aware of all that information anyway, and they’ll be able to act as they like to act.”
While it did not settle on a single map recommendation, the committee did rate each map by having members score them on a 1- to 4-point scale. Maps that made only minor changes to the current boundaries had the best average; those with more dramatic effects fared the poorest, including one that would have split Downtown between two districts and another that would significantly alter the mid-Heights districts.
Committee member Kenneth Pascoe said not cutting the options down from eight was “a mistake” but that he was glad the council would get all the information about the ratings too.
“I think the voting process we went through was a good one and ideally the (council) will take that into account when they look at the maps,” he said.