New Mexico redistricting: three congressional map create a win for POC

Native American Tribes and Hispanic Representation scores big with an advisory board on redistricting endorsement of several plans for realigning the boundaries of political districts across New Mexico on Friday, backing proposed congressional districts that would consolidate Native American representation and strengthen a Hispanic majority.

The recommendations of the Citizens Redistricting Committee are a nonbinding reference point for the Legislature as it enters the once-a-decade process of drawing new political boundaries.

Several states, including New Mexico and Indiana, are using citizen advisory boards to temper political inclinations without taking redistricting powers away from state lawmakers.

It has been 30 years since Democrats controlled both the governors office and Legislature during redistricting and the role is not being taken lightly of the potential long term effects. 

Proposed changes to the congressional swing district in southern New Mexico of Yvette Herrell are being scrutinized.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell ousted a first-term Democrat from the 2nd District seat. The district’s boundaries are likely to shift and contract to offset population gains in a oil-producing region in the southeastern corner of the state.

The advisory committee endorsed three separate plans for redrawing the state's three congressional districts.

A consensus congressional map from Native American communities was still under negotiation Friday and may be submitted independently to the Legislature.

New Mexico presents unusual challenges in efforts to comply with the U.S. Voting Rights Act to preserve communities of interest and give minority voters a fair shot to elect candidates of their choice.

Nearly 48% of state residents claim Hispanic ancestry — the highest portion in the nation.

The share of New Mexico residents who identify themselves as Indigenous by race or by combined ancestry was 12.4%, a percentage surpassed only by Alaska and Oklahoma.

The state is home to 23 federally recognized tribes, whose growing political clout is reflected in the election of Laguna Pueblo tribal member Deb Haaland to Congress in 2016 and her promotion this year to secretary of the Interior.

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