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New Mexico’s citizen redistricting maps sent to Legislature

October 30, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The committee responsible for proposing new political boundaries in New Mexico has sent a final report to state legislators, recommending maps to be used in redistricting.

In the report made public Friday, the Citizen Redistricting Committee recommended three maps for redistricting congressional boundaries and additional maps for state offices.

Political boundaries are redrawn every ten years to reflect population counts by the census, most recently in 2020. For the first time, New Mexico is using a citizen advisory board to temper partisan inclinations toward entrenching political power through redistricting.

“It’s about the public selecting their legislators, not the legislators selecting them,” Citizen Redistricting Committee Chair Edward Chávez said.

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The committee reviewed 80 maps proposed by members of the public and collected thousands of comments in writing, in-person and over Zoom, including those from supporters of political advocacy groups.

Federal standards also require that the maps preserve voting power among minority groups.

New Mexico’s Democratic-led Legislature is expected to pick one of the maps in a special legislative session in December. But it could also forge a new map and ignore the commission.

“We’ll see what happens. They’ll either adopt one of the maps we’re proposing, or they’ll go on their own,” said Chávez, a retired judge.

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Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter.