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Published in the ABQ Journal Letters to the Editor – Monday, June 28, 2021

In response to the June 13 Journal editorial criticizing the lack of diversity on the Citizen Redistricting Committee (CRC), the League of Women Voters of New Mexico shares those concerns.

However, the League wishes to allow the CRC to fulfill its statutory functions, after which we will evaluate the results. The League was very involved in the process leading to the creation of the CRC. We knew from the beginning that it would be a compromise. What I believe many don’t understand is that the three excellent New Mexico State Ethics Commission appointees are the swing votes on the Committee. Former New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward Chavez oversaw the redrawing of the 2011 New Mexico state House seats. He was involved in the drafting of the legislation which created the CRC as well. Member Robert Rhatigan is the New Mexico state demographer who oversaw the 2021 census effort in New Mexico and is an unaffiliated voter. Member Joaquin Sanchez is a teacher and an unaffiliated voter as well.

So even if the Republican and Democratic appointees pursue their partisan goals, I doubt they will vote as a bloc - meaning they will have to win at least one vote from the Ethics Commission appointees. So let the CRC do its work and then we can evaluate the results. If you know anything about the League you know we will be the first to criticize any unfair results.

Finally, problems with this process emphasizes the need for a New Mexico constitutional amendment to create a truly independent redistricting commission. In the future the League will be pursuing that end along with other good government groups.

Richard Mason, Chair of the Action Committee League of Women Voters of New Mexico