Media release from Fair Districts New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico - Fair Districts for New Mexico, an organization working toward redistricting reform, including legislation creating fair voting districts, supports House Joint Resolution 9 (HJR 9) for the creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission.
Fair Districts for New Mexico, and its 40 partner organizations, urges New Mexicans to support HJR9 introduced today by Representatives Natalie Figueroa and Daymon Ely. If passed, the resolution will put the opportunity to create a true independent redistricting commission on the 2022 general election ballot. It would model the successful Citizen Redistricting Committee (CRC) model.
Fair Districts for New Mexico (FDNM) and partners led the coalition that promoted the 2021 Redistricting Act, creating the CRC. The CRC was tasked with gathering public input and then recommending Congressional, New Mexico Senate and House, and Public Education Commission district maps to the New Mexico Legislature.
The seven-member CRC conducted more than 14 public meetings around New Mexico and provided three sets of recommendations for each set of district maps considered by the legislature. “The CRC did an admirable job in a very compact period of time. The CRC and staff deserve the appreciation of all New Mexicans,” says Dick Mason of the League of Women Voters of New Mexico, one of Fair Districts’ partners. “Sadly these public meetings and maps were only ‘recommendations’. As a result, one chamber decided it was in their best interest to draw maps to protect incumbents, a disservice to those who participated in the many public meetings and contributed to the eventual design of the maps.”
Mason continued, “The legislators ultimately chose their constituents rather than constituents choosing their legislators. In what universe is that not a conflict of interest? We hope that the legislature will approve HJR 9 and provide voters the right to choose their elected leaders in elections to come.”
A 2020 scientific survey by the UNM Center for Social Policy indicates support for the ideals embodied in HJR9. According to the survey results of New Mexico residents, a robust 93% of respondents believe it is important for lawmakers to consider implementing new laws in the future to increase accountability; one example would be the creation of an independent redistricting commission. Numerous additional polls over the years have shown that an overwhelming number of New Mexicans prefer an independent redistricting commission. The New Mexico Legislature owes it to the voters of New Mexico to allow them to make that choice.
Fair Districts for New Mexico is a project of the League of Women Voters working on redistricting reform in New Mexico. www.fairdistrictsnm.org