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Some Suggested Themes for Letters to the Editor and Op/Eds

Revised 9/3/19

EVERY VOICE MATTERS, EVERY VOTE COUNTS

Every voice in New Mexico should be heard, and every vote should count equally. We must empower everyday New Mexicans and prevent maps from being drawn unfairly and stripping voters of their vote.

EMPOWER VOTERS TO CHOOSE

Elections should be determined by voters, not politicians who draw maps. Voters should pick their elected officials, not the other way around. In our current system, politicians can draw their own district lines to pick their voters and protect themselves. A special redistricting commission empowers voters.

OPEN THE SYSTEM

By making the process open and honest, we can protect our fundamental right to vote. We have the opportunity to prevent gerrymandering, create rules that apply evenly to both parties, and send a message that voters come first.

WHAT IS REDISTRICTING? WHAT IS GERRYMANDERING?

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts. This process happens every 10 years to adjust for population changes. Currently, legislators must draw new maps like they pass any other legislation. Gerrymandering is the manipulation of district boundaries to draw a map that is not representative of the community. Sometimes this is done by unfairly favoring a political party or diluting the vote of racial or ethnic minorities. Sometimes deals are made to protect incumbents of all parties .

WHAT IS THE PROCESS NOW?

In New Mexico, the maps are approved by the New Mexico House of Representatives and the New Mexico Senate, then signed into law by the Governor. But sometimes those parties cannot agree. They might think a map has been gerrymandered or puts their party at a disadvantage. In theory, a set of district maps would be those parties can agree on. When the legislature cannot agree before their deadline, they rely on a court to draw the maps. Usually a court appoints a panel of judges who revise the legislature's proposed maps to create a final and impartial map. In the last two redistricting sessions these lawsuits have cost New Mexico taxpayers an additional 6 million dollars. Also, the conflicts and lawsuits that have arisen over past redistricting in New Mexico undermines the public confidence in the political process.

NEW MEXICO DOES NOT WANT TO BE NEAR THE BOTTOM IN REDISTRICTING REFORM

New Mexico was one of the last states to create a State Ethics Commission. Let’s not be one of the last to reform the redistricting process. Fourteen states already have independent legislative redistricting commissions. At least six other states are considering adopting some type of redistricting reform prior to 2021.

NEW MEXICANS WANT REDISTRICTING REFORM:

From a March 28, 2018 Common Cause New Mexico Poll: Seven-in-ten voters say they support the creation of an independent commission that would be responsible for redrawing the state’s legislative districts, rather than having state legislators responsible for redistricting; 51% are strongly supportive.

2020 IS THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

A perfect anniversary gift would be real redistricting reform in New Mexico