Summary: HJR 9, sponsored by Reps. Natalie Figueroa and Daymon Ely, would place the question of creating a truly independent redistricting commission on the 2022 general election ballot, which would create maps that do not require legislative review and approval. For details about how members would be chosen, read the text of the bill at this link.
History: After multiple unsuccessful attempts to pass a bill to create an independent redistricting commission over the years, the Redistricting Act was passed during the 2021 legislative session, creating the Citizen Redistricting Committee (CRC). The Committee created several maps, which then went to the legislature for final approval in a Special Session in December 2021. Unfortunately, the legislative process was still riddled with gerrymandering, buddy-mandering, and closed-doors maneuvers. This new bill attempts to create a truly independent commission that creates maps that do not require approval from the legislature. On Jan. 21, 2022, the Republican Party of New Mexico filed a lawsuit challenging the new congressional map, claiming it is a partisan gerrymander that favors Democrats in violation of the state constitution.
Why This Bill is Good for New Mexico
- New Mexico needs relevant public participation and oversight to assure a fair and more transparent redistricting process, which can be achieved with a redistricting commission independent of the legislature. This fair and more transparent process will help to avoid the expenditure of millions of dollars in court costs, as has been required in the past.
- The 2001 and 2011 redistricting cycles ended up in the courts, which cost the state more than $6 million, in addition to a a loss of public confidence in the political process. And on Jan. 21, 2022, the Republican Party of New Mexico filed a lawsuit challenging the new congressional map developed in 2021.
- Fourteen states have independent redistricting commissions with another four states considering them. Another six states have some public participation/oversight of the redistricting process.
- New Mexico was one of the last states to create an independent ethics commission. We don’t want to be one of the last to reform redistricting.
- Because of the national publicity about gerrymandering and the Supreme Court decision to leave redistricting reform to the states, people are now more engaged in the redistricting process and will expect it to be fair and transparent.
Fair Districts for New Mexico; Adelante Progressive Caucus; American Association of University Women (AAUW), New Mexico; American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico; Central New Mexico Democrats; Common Cause New Mexico; Green Party of Albuquerque Metro Area; Indivisible Las Cruces; Indivisible Albuquerque; Indivisible Rio Grande; Indivisible Sandoval County; Indivisible Santa Fe; Indivisible SOS; International District Healthy Communities Coalition (IDHCC); League of Women Voters of New Mexico; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Doña Ana County; Native American Democratic Caucus of New Mexico; Native American Voter Alliance (NAVA) Education Project; New Mexico Black Voters Collaborative; New Mexico Democratic Black Caucus; New Mexico Chamber of Commerce; New Mexico Ethics Watch; New Mexico First; New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG); New Mexico Open Elections; New Mexico State Auditor Brian S. Colón, Esq.; Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Central New Mexico; RepresentUs New Mexico; Republican National Hispanic Assembly of New Mexico; Retake Our Democracy; Save Our Western Way of Life; Vecinos United