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State Summary

New Mexico’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

On Mar. 20, 2021, the legislature passed SB 304, which was signed by the Governor on Apr. 6, 2021.  It creates an advisory commission to draw federal and state lines, with one member appointed by each legislative leader two who aren’t registered with either major party appointed by the state ethics commission, and one retired state judge or justice serving as chair and appointed by the state ethics commission.  Commissioners will be appointed by July 1, 2021; no commissioner will have been, within the last two years, a public official or candidate, a political party officeholder, a lobbyist, a federal legislative or state employee, or the relative of a state or federal officeholder.

The advisory commission would hold at least 6 public meetings before drawing draft plans, and at least 6 afterward, in various regions of the state (with at least one on tribal lands).  The plans would be precluded from splitting precincts and from diluting a protected minority’s voting strength; districts would also have to be contiguous, reasonably compact, and attempt to preserve communities of interest.  The commission can consider political and geographic bounds, and may seek to preserve the cores of existing districts.  The law would preclude the use of partisan data except as necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act, and preclude consideration of candidate addresses except to avoid pairing incumbents.

The commission would draw three plans each for congress and each state legislative house, by Oct. 30, 2021, and deliver them to the legislature with written evaluations.  The legislature may then adopt, modify, or ignore any of the commission’s proposals.

In the 2010 cycle, the New Mexico legislature stalled on a congressional plan; on Dec. 29, 2011, a state court issued congressional maps instead.  The legislature passed state Senate (SB 33) and state House (HB 39) plans that were vetoed on Oct. 7, 2011, and a state court took over proceedings here as well.  On Jan. 16, 2012, it issued state Senate maps, and on Jan. 3, 2012, it issued state House maps.  The state Supreme Court struck the state House maps on Feb. 10, 2012, and the trial court issued a new state House plan on Feb. 27, 2012.

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Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Primary governing law

Website

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Data

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The Latest Updates

Apr 6, 2021
The New Mexico Governor signed SB 304, which creates an independent advisory commission for state and federal district plans.
Mar 20, 2021
The New Mexico legislature passed legislation (SB 304) creating an independent advisory commission to propose state and federal district plans; the legislation awaits the Governor's signature.

Institution

New Mexico’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Timing

New Mexico law does not currently provide a particular deadline to draw either congressional or state legislative lines.  Candidates must file for congressional primary elections by Feb. 1, 2022, and for state legislative primary elections by Mar. 8, 2022. [N.M. Stat. § 1-8-26(a)]  The legislative session began on Jan. 19, 2021, and is currently scheduled to end on Mar. 20, 2021.

New Mexico law appears to prohibit redrawing state legislative lines mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [N.M. Const. art. IV, § 3]

Public input

The legislature has not announced any specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.

Criteria

Like all states, New Mexico must comply with constitutional equal population requirements and must abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

New Mexico statutes establish additional criteria for state legislative districts, though these criteria may also be altered by the state legislature. Current statutes require state legislative districts to be contiguous; state Senate districts must be as compact “as practical,” and state House districts must be as compact “as is practical and possible.” [N.M. Stat. §§ 2-8D-2, 2-7C-3]

In past cycles, the legislature has also established additional guidelines.

2010 cycle

The New Mexico legislature stalled on a congressional plan; on Dec. 29, 2011, a state court issued congressional maps instead. [Egolf v. Duran, No. D-101-CV-2011-02942 (N.M. Dist. Ct., Santa Fe Cnty. Dec. 29, 2011)]

The legislature passed state Senate (SB 33) and state House (HB 39) plans that were vetoed on Oct. 7, 2011.  A state court took over proceedings; on Jan. 16, 2012, it issued state Senate maps, and on Jan. 3, 2012, it issued state House maps.  The state Supreme Court struck the state House maps on Feb. 10, 2012, with instructions for the trial court to reconsider the extent to which mildly larger population deviations would satisfy other state redistricting criteria, to reconsider the partisan impact and incumbent pairings of a court-ordered plan, and to recognize a district protecting Hispanic voters in the Clovis area under the Voting Rights Act.  The trial court issued a new state House plan on Feb. 27, 2012.  [Egolf v. Duran, No. D-101-CV-2011-02942 (N.M. Dist. Ct., Santa Fe Cnty. Feb. 27, 2012); Maestas v. Hall, 274 P.3d 66 (N.M. 2012); Egolf v. Duran, No. D-101-CV-2011-02942 (N.M. Dist. Ct., Santa Fe Cnty. Jan. 16, 2012)]

The maps were not further challenged in court.

Materials and maps are available here.

2000 cycle

The New Mexico legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 33) that was vetoed on Oct. 3, 2001. When the legislature did not pass another plan, a state trial court drew congressional districts, on Jan. 2, 2002. [Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D0101-cv-2001-02177 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Jan. 2, 2002)]

The legislature also passed state Senate (SB 2) and state House (HB 7) plans that were vetoed on Sept. 15, 2001; new state Senate (SB 34) and state House (HB 3)  plans were also vetoed, on Oct. 3, 2001. Though the legislature managed to pass a third state Senate plan (SB 485), signed on Mar. 5, 2002, it was not able to do so with respect to the state House. When the legislature did not pass another state House plan, a state trial court drew those state House districts, on Jan. 24, 2002. [Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D0101-cv-2001-02177 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Jan. 24, 2002)]

The maps were not further challenged in court.

Materials and maps are available here.

Redistricting Cases in New Mexico

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New Mexico | Federal Trial | State Lower
Chavez-Hankins v. Duran
Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed federal court challenge to state remand of state House plan: alleged unequal population, unjustified use of race
Last Updated Apr 13, 2012
Case Number

No. 1:12-cv-00140 (D.N.M.)

Cycle 2010