Congressional & Legislative
Primary Authority: Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the New Mexico Legislature, subject to the Governor’s veto. The Legislature can override a veto with a 2/3 vote in each chamber. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in either chamber.
If a bill is presented to the governor during session, the governor has 3 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. If the bill is delivered to the governor during the last 3 days of the session, the governor must sign or veto it within 20 days of session adjournment; otherwise, it is pocket vetoed. Sundays are excluded from these calculations.
Advisory Authority: New Mexico’s Citizen Redistricting Committee draws and proposes at least 3 congressional and legislative plans to the Legislature, which is free to use, amend, or reject them.
- Members: The Committee has 7 members. The Speaker and minority leader of the New Mexico House and the President and minority leader of the New Mexico Senate each appoints 1 member. The State Ethics Commission appoints 3 members, 2 of whom must not be members of the largest or second largest political parties in the state and the 3rd being either a retired justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court or a retired judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, who serves as chair. [N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-3A-3]
- Timing: Members must be appointed no later than August 1 of years ending in 0 and they serve until all required plan proposals have been submitted to the Legislature. The Committee must adopt at least 3 congressional, state House, and state Senate plan proposals no later than September 1 of years ending in 1. [N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-3A-3; 1-3A-5; 1-3A-8]
- Eligibility: Members must be appointed with due regard to the cultural and geographic diversity of the state. No more than 3 members can be of the same political party. Members must not have changed their party registration within the 2 years preceding their appointment which would otherwise have resulted in the 3-member limit being exceeded, nor can they change their party registration after being appointed if it would exceed the limit. Members must also be a qualified, registered voter of New Mexico and must not be, or have been in the 2 years prior to their appointment, been any of the following in New Mexico: a public official; a candidate for public office; a lobbyist; a holder of political party office at the federal or state level; a relative of a member of Congress, state House or Senate, or the New Mexico Public Education Commission; or an employee of congress, the legislative branch, executive branch, or other state office which is subject to redistricting by the Committee. [N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-3A-3; 1-3A-4]
- Voting: Not specified.
- Public Input & Transparency: The Committee must hold at least 6 public hearings before publishing plan proposals for public comment and must hold at least 6 public hearings for the purpose of adopting plan proposals. At least 30 days public notice must be given in advance of each meeting. At these hearings, the Committee must accept public testimony and information regarding communities of interest and the creation of plans. Meetings must be conducted in accordance with New Mexico’s Open Meetings Act and must be held in certain specified regions throughout the state. Complete records pertaining to each redistricting plan the Committee adopts must be available to the public. [N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-3A-5, 1-3A-6]
- 2021 Proposals: Plan A, Plan E, Plan H
Mapping Timeline: After holding the required number of public hearings, the advisory Citizen Redistricting Committee must adopt its congressional and legislative plan proposals and submit them to the Legislature along with accompanying written evaluations and explanatory statements by September 1 of years ending in 1. The Legislature must adopt final congressional and legislative plans by the end of the calendar year in which the state received the decennial census results. [N.M. Const. art. IV, § 3; N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-3A-5; 1-3A-8; 1-3A-9; 1-3-13]
Redistricting Criteria: There are no congressional or legislative redistricting criteria applicable to the New Mexico Legislature’s final plans. The following criteria are applicable only to the Citizen Redistricting Committee’s plan proposals:
- Congressional: As equal in population as practicable; Contiguous; Reasonably compact; Attempt to preserve communities of interest and consider political and geographic boundaries to the extent feasible; attempt to preserve cores of existing districts to the extent feasible; Drawn consistent with traditional districting principles.
- Legislative: Substantially equal in population (max 10% deviation); Contiguous; Reasonably compact; Attempt to preserve communities of interest and consider political and geographic boundaries to the extent feasible; attempt to preserve cores of existing districts to the extent feasible; Drawn consistent with traditional districting principles.
- PROHIBITED (both): Use of partisan data such as voting history or party registration data, unless to ensure compliance with federal law; Consideration of candidate or incumbent addresses except to avoid the pairing of incumbents unless necessary to conform to other traditional districting principles; Splitting precincts. [N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-3A-7]
Map Challenges: Not specified.
Ballot Measure & Referendum Processes
Types of Measures: Initiatives are not permitted to amend statutes or the state Constitution. Referendums are permitted on statutes. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.
Single-Subject Rule: No.
Signature Requirements: The signature requirements for referendums is 10% of the qualified electors of each of ¾ of the counties and 10% of the qualified electors of the state, both calculated based on the number of votes cast at the last preceding general election. 714,754 people voted in the 2022 general election in New Mexico, so 71,476 signatures are required for a referendum. If the referendum petition receives signatures equal to 25% of the qualified electors of the state based on the last general election and those are submitted within the specified time period, the subject law is suspended pending the referendum vote.
Circulation Period: Referendums must be submitted no less than 4 months prior to the general election in which it is to appeal on the ballot (July 5, 2024). To suspend a law pending the referendum vote, the 25% of qualified elector signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State within 90 days of the adjournment of the legislative session in which the law was passed.
Other Requirements: Both a majority of those voting on the question and at least 40% of qualified electors voting in that general election must vote to repeal the law for a referendum to be successful. Referendums may not target general appropriation laws; laws providing for the preservation of public peace, health, or safety; laws providing for the payment of public debt or interest, or otherwise creating or funding the same except as provided in the state constitution; laws relating to the maintenance of public schools or state institutions; or local or special laws.
[N.M. Const. art. IV, § 1]
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- State Court’s Plan (D-controlled Legislature failed to pass)
- Adopted = December 29, 2011
- Litigation History
- Egolf v. Duran, D-101-CV-2011-2942 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Dec. 29, 2011): After the Democratic-controlled Legislature failed to pass a congressional plan, the responsibility fell to the state courts. On December 29, 2011, the district court issued an order adopting one of the parties’ amended joint plan submitted to the court for use in the 2012 and future elections.
- Original Plans – HB 39 (House); SB 33 (Senate)
- Passed = September 23, 2011 (D-controlled)
- Vetoed = October 7, 2011 (R-controlled)
- State Court’s Plans – House; Senate
- Adopted = January 3, 2012 (House); January 16, 2012 (Senate)
- House plan struck down on February 12, 2012
- State Court’s Revised House Plan
- Adopted = February 27, 2012
- Litigation History
- Egolf v. Duran, No. D-101-CV-2011-2942 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Jan. 16, 2012): After the Republican Governor vetoed the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s enacted state Senate plan, the responsibility fell to the state courts. On January 16, 2012, the district court issued an order adopting one of the parties’ joint plan submitted to the court for use in the 2012 and future elections.
- Maestas v. Hall, 274 P.3d 66 (N.M. 2012): After the state district court adopted a state House plan, plaintiffs challenged its validity on the grounds that it diluted minority voting rights in violation of the Voting Rights Act, it prioritized small population deviations over traditional redistricting principles, and was selected based on partisan considerations. On February 12, 2012, the state Supreme Court reversed the district court’s order adopting the House plan and remanded the case with specific redistricting instructions as to a revised plan’s requirements. The district court adopted a revised House plan on February 27, 2012, and on April 10, 2012, the state Supreme Court approved the revised House plan as consistent with the remand order’s instructions.
- Egolf v. Duran, No. D-101-CV-2011-2942 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Feb. 27, 2012): After the N.M. Supreme Court invalidated its first adopted House plan and remanded the case with specific redistricting instructions, the district court revised and adopted its final House plan on February 27, 2012, which the state Supreme Court subsequently affirmed.
- Original Plan – SB 33
- Passed = September 19, 2001 (D-controlled)
- Vetoed = October 3, 2001 (R-controlled)
- State Court’s Plan
- Adopted = January 2, 2002
- Litigation History
- Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D0101-CV-2001-02177 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Jan. 2, 2002): After the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s congressional plan was vetoed by the Republican Governor, the responsibility fell to the state courts. On January 2, 2002, the district court issued an order adopting a congressional redistricting plan.
- Original Plans – HB 7 (House); SB 2 (Senate)
- Passed = September 14, 2001 (D-controlled)
- Vetoed = September 15, 2001 (R-controlled)
- Second Plans – HB 3 (House); SB 34 (Senate)
- Vetoed = October 3, 2001 (R-controlled)
- Third Senate Plan – SB 485
- State Court’s House Plan
- Adopted = January 24, 2002
- Litigation History
- Jepsen v. Vigil-Giron, No. D-0101-CV-2001-02177 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Jan. 24, 2002): After the Democratic-controlled Legislature’s state House plans were vetoed by the Republican Governor multiple times, the responsibility fell to the state courts. On January 24, 2002, the district court issued an order adopting its state House redistricting plan.
In The News
- New Mexico Supreme Court Outlines Guidance for Handling Gerrymandering Lawsuit, Associated Press (7/10/23)
- New Mexico Supreme Court Recognizes Partisan Gerrymandering Claim under State Constitution, Adopting the Standard in Justice Kagan’s Rucho Dissent, Election Law Blog (7/5/23)
- New Mexico Supreme Court outlines guidance for handling gerrymandering lawsuit, AP (7/5/23)
- Pearce on Gerrymandering in New Mexico: "These maps must be corrected", New Mexico Sun (3/2/23)
- New Mexico Supreme Court Considers Gerrymandering Question, KRQE (1/9/23)
- Lawmakers to Consider Taking Redistricting Out of Their Own Hands, KUNM (12/19/22)
- New Mexico Supreme Court to Take on Redistricting Case, AP (10/14/22)
- Navajo Nation Sues New Mexico County Over Redistricting Map, AP (2/15/22)
- Republican Party Challenges New Mexico Political Maps, AP (1/21/22)
- New Mexico Governor Approves 3-District Congressional Map, AP (12/17/21)
- Tribes Prevail as Redistricting Plans Advance in New Mexico, AP (12/17/21)
- New Mexico Redistricting Stalls Amid Discord on Tribal Plan, AP (12/14/21)
- New Mexico Legislature Sends Redistricting Plan to Governor, AP (12/12/21)
- House of Representatives Passes Redistricting Bill, Santa Fe New Mexican (12/10/21)
- Citizen Redistricting Committee Presents Recommended Redistricting Maps to House of Representatives, Los Alamos Daily Post (12/8/21)
- Advisory Panel Endorses Redistricting Maps for New Mexico, AP (10/15/21)
- New Mexico Redistricting Committee Launches Website, Santa Fe New Mexican (7/15/21)
- Redistricting Panel Rejects Proposed Rule on Private Talks, AP (7/3/21)
- New Mexico Redistricting Committee Adopts Online Public Input Portal, Santa Fe New Mexican (7/2/21)
- Retired Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez to Head Redistricting Panel, Albuquerque Journal (6/4/21)
- Ethics Commission Seeks Redistricting Committee Members, Albuquerque Journal (4/24/21)
- Ethics Commission Solicits Redistricting Applicants, Albuquerque Journal (4/13/21)
- Redistricting Bill One of 50 Signed into Law Tuesday by Lujan Grisham, Santa Fe New Mexican (4/6/21)
- New Mexico Approves Independent Redistricting Panel, The Hill (3/22/21)
- State House Approves Bill Creating Independent Redistricting Commission, Santa Fe New Mexican (3/20/21)
- Time Grows Thin for Two Redistricting Bills for New Mexico, Santa Fe New Mexican (3/12/21)
- Redistricting Bill Heads to House, Albuquerque Journal (3/9/21)
- Redistricting Proposal Advances to New Mexico Senate Floor, Santa Fe New Mexican (3/6/21)
- New Mexico Senate Takes Up Redistricting Reform Bills, Santa Fe New Mexican (3/1/21)
- Bipartisan Redistricting Plan Moves Forward in New Mexico, Santa Fe New Mexican (2/8/21)
- New Mexico's Special Legislative Session on Redistricting could be Delayed, Santa Fe New Mexican (1/18/21)
- Redistricting in New Mexico: Task Force, Advocacy Groups Push for Fairness, KOB (11/9/20)
- Democratic-Led Legislature Begins Redistricting Process, AP (11/6/20)
- Top Democrat Says District Will be Redrawn After GOP Win, AP (11/5/20)
- New Mexico's Current 2020 Census Response Rate Below National Average, KRQE (9/24/20)
- New Mexico Governor Wants Longer Census Count if Biden Wins, AP (9/23/20)
- Tribes in NM Under Intense Pressure to Complete Census Count by New Deadline, New Mexico in Depth (9/11/20)
- Historically Undercounted Groups may be Undercounted Again in U.S. Census, NM Political Report (8/25/20)
- New Mexico Redistricting Task Force Seeks Nominations, Las Cruces Sun-News (8/9/20)
- Census Deadline Moved Up, Surprising NM Native Communities, New Mexico in Depth (8/5/20)
- New Mexico Behind National Average in Census Count, The Las Cruces Bulletin (7/16/20)
- NM Lawmakers Should Set New Redistricting Criteria, Albuquerque Journal (7/5/20)