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Measure Would Take Redistricting From Lawmakers

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New Mexico State Senate Districts

The 2020 census is fast approaching and some lawmakers in Santa Fe are pushing for voting districts to be redrawn by an independent commission.

When lawmakers control the redistricting process, thatcan lead to a breakdown of true representation, said Vikki Harrison with Common Cause New Mexico. She says they’ll just create safe districts that they know they can win.
 
“Most of the action happens in your primary election, because there is no other party running against you," she said. "So you end up with a lot of uncontested races [and] that leads to an erosion of democracy.”
 
The Democrat-sponsored proposal would take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature in the hopes of preventing gerrymandering. Opponentssay any commission would still be vulnerable to political pressure.

The measure that would amend the state constitution has made it through two committees and now heads to the House Judiciary Committee. If lawmakersapprove the measure this year, voters will make the final call on the 2018 ballot.

 

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The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners.

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