New Mexico Supreme Court upholds decision on redistricting case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Monday districts drawn up by state lawmakers in 2021 are not gerrymandered, even though there is evidence the new boundaries diluted votes between political opponents.
District 2 is typically a battleground between Democrats and Republicans every two years, but GOP leaders argued the Democrats gave themselves an unfair advantage in the last election.
In a lawsuit, GOP leaders argued the shift placed more Democrat voters in District 2. Enough to give Congressman Gabe Vasquez an advantage over Republican Yvette Herrell.
A district judge ruled earlier this year there is clear evidence state lawmakers did that on purpose, but says those efforts did not qualify as “egregious gerrymandering.”
The state Supreme Court upheld that decision and noted Democrat Xochitl Torres Small beat Herrell in the same district before it was redrawn.
“I mean, there was a greater percentage between Torres-Small and Herrell prior to the redistricting than there was between Vasquez and Herrell. I mean, that was just over 1,000 votes. So why wouldn’t this be a toss up based on that fact alone?” said New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Briana Zamora.
New Mexico’s political leaders on both sides of the aisle were quick to comment on Monday’s ruling.
Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce says they are disappointed with the ruling to uphold a gerrymandered map that disenfranchises the voice of voters.
He added, “the court leaned heavily on the closeness of the last election” referencing Herrell and Vasquez, “without considering specific factors about each candidate’s popularity.”
The Democratic Party of New Mexico supports the ruling, saying “the Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that these maps are fair and representative of New Mexico, and our diverse communities.”
The Republican Party says it’s still weighing its legal options on how to move forward.
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