Redistricting reform, such as the creation of an independent redistricting commission, eliminates partisan gerrymandering and gives voters a stronger voice by taking party politics and special interests out of the map-drawing process.
Currently, New Mexico has a citizens redistricting committee. However, members are appointed by elected officials, and the recommendations of the committee are not binding. State legislators and state representatives ultimately choose the maps for their own districts along with those for our members of Congress. We believe a fully independent commission is necessary to remove the self-interest from the process and create fair maps.
Benefits of independent redistricting commissions:
- Independent redistricting commissions remove self-interested politicians from the process and put citizens and independent commissioners in charge.
- Independent redistricting commissions replace state legislatures as the body responsible for redrawing district lines based on population changes each decade.
- Neighboring states like Colorado and Arizona already have high-functioning, effective independent redistricting commissions.
- While they vary state to state, in general their members are chosen in a way to diminish undue influence from any one party or branch of government, and they are legally bound to draw districts based on a defined set of criteria.
- The commissions decrease polarization, encourages compromise, and increases responsiveness of elected officials to their constituents’ interests.
Problems with New Mexico's current redistricting system:
- When political parties draw their own state and congressional districts each decade, they can effectively choose their own voters. This allows the party in power to manipulate elections, all but guaranteeing the ultimate partisan outcome of an election before a single ballot has been cast.
- Nationwide, since 1997, 42% of the decline in competitive districts is attributable to partisan gerrymandering. New Mexico currently has the least competitive districts in the nation.
- The redistricting process in NM today fosters polarization and does not accurately represent districts people live in.
- Creates bad publicity for the legislature and its members, placing them in an unkind light and tarnishing the stature and dignity of the legislature.
- Both major parties use partisan gerrymandering throughout the nation to preserve their power, which eliminates representation.
To learn more, visit our friends at: https://www.fairdistrictsnm.org/
Watch the recording of our Strengthening Democracy Town Hall about Redistricting:
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