NM’s Congressional Redistricting Effort

Congress-Map-A

Several weeks ago, we promised to keep you updated on the ongoing congressional redistricting effort. One ongoing concern has been over a likely attempt to dilute the Second Congressional District (where we live) in proposals of new maps. It’s still early in the redistricting process, but we must remain alert to what is being discussed. 

The concern was that votes in rural, southern New Mexico would be watered down by adding suburbs of Albuquerque in new maps.  However, a recent proposal, “Congressional Concept H,” takes this concern to a new level. You can see the proposed map for yourself here: https://www.nmredistricting.org/mapconcepts/

This map was reportedly designed by the “Center for Civic Policy on behalf of the People’s Power, People’s Maps Coalition.”

If you look at this proposal, there’s nothing subtle about the attempt to dilute southeastern New Mexico’s voting power in particular. Under this proposal, votes from residents of Southeastern New Mexico are scattered across all three of the state’s Congressional Districts. 

Carlsbad and half of Hobbs would remain in District 2, but the northern half of Hobbs has been put in District 3. Roswell is now a part of District 1. 

See the problem? The cities of Southeastern New Mexico – would be split up in a way specifically designed to keep them from having any political clout. No matter what your political affiliation – proposed maps such as this one are highly unethical. Court rulings over the past few decades have also generally indicated that proposals such as this one are not viable. 

The creators of the map attempt to justify their recommendation by saying it creates a district with a majority of Hispanic voters, but there are many other ways such a goal could have been obtained without dividing up Southeastern New Mexico. 

The proposals of this map should probably be a little more honest with themselves and admit that their main goal is for all three Congressional districts to swing in their direction in upcoming elections. This is partisan gerrymandering at its absolute worst.

Redistricting law does say that issues such as race and ethnicity must be taken into account when proposing new political maps, but they also must consider economic interests, water table interests and transportation. Splitting the residents of our neighbors in Hobbs into two different districts very clearly does not accomplish this goal. 

They also need to attempt some semblance of fairness when it comes to dividing urban/rural votes and, yes, votes based on probable political affiliation. Congressional Concept H – and others of its ilk- is a very deliberate attempt to divide the state in a way that guarantees that all three of the state’s Congressional districts go in the same political direction. 

Please recall that Eddy and Lea County, according to the 2020 Census, are also experiencing the highest population acceleration in the state. 

Even more frustratingly, the proposers of this map have the audacity to proclaim that such a proposal would be in the interests of southeastern New Mexico- since we’d now have congressional representation in all three districts. 

They know as well as we do that isn’t how the system works. Token representation on the map in three different districts means we would be ignored in three different districts. The citizens of Southeastern New Mexico must be kept together in a single congressional district, and one that maintains the rural nature of this district. Proposals that attempt to do otherwise are unethical. 

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, we will be introducing a resolution seeking to address this very important topic. 

Sincerely,

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway

 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Share Your News or Event with Us!