Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The 19 pueblos of New Mexico and the Jicarilla Apache Nation have filed redistribution plans that they say would protect the right to vote of Native American communities and begin to address a story of “disenfranchisement and suppression of voting rights. voters ”.
The tribes submitted plans to redraw the boundaries of the congressional districts of New Mexico and, in the northwestern part of the state, the legislative districts.
The cards were filed with the state’s Citizens Redistricting Committee by the All Pueblo Council of Governors and the Native Redistricting Coalition.
“This effort reflects not only an understanding of the importance of tribal involvement in the redistribution process, but more importantly, the need to protect our cherished right to vote,” said Wilfred Herrera Jr., Governor of Laguna Pueblo and president of All Pueblo. Board of Governors.
The map proposed by Congress would significantly reshape the 1st Congressional District, currently in Albuquerque and the Eastern Mountains.
Southwest Albuquerque and the South Valley would be part of the 2nd Congressional District based in southern New Mexico.
The 1st Congressional District, meanwhile, would cover parts of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, and would descend to pick up Soccoro.
The 3rd Congressional District, based in the north, would cover much of eastern New Mexico and plunge south to include Roswell.
Native Americans are believed to make up 17% of the voting age population in the district – about twice as many as the state as a whole.
Zia, Jemez, Taos, and other northern pueblos, in addition to parts of the Navajo Nation, are believed to be in the 3rd Congressional District. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe represents this region.
According to the plan, the 2nd Congressional District – largely covering southern New Mexico – would include Acoma, Isleta, and Laguna pueblos. Native Americans represent 5% of the voting age population.
The second district is represented by Republican Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo, a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Sandia Pueblo would remain in the 1st Congressional District, along with much of Albuquerque, and Native Americans would make up about 4% of the district’s voting age population.
Albuquerque Democrat Melanie Stansbury represents the district.
For legislative boundaries, the tribes tabled a House proposal that would establish six districts in which the majority of the voting age population would be Native American. A seventh district would have about 30% Native Americans among those of voting age.
The State House has 70 members in total.
The adjusted boundaries are intended to connect some western pueblos – such as Acoma and Laguna – to the ancestral site of Chaco Canyon in a District of House.
For the 42-member Senate, the tribal proposal would create three districts with a Native American majority and two more with at least 33%.
Among the changes would be the addition of the Pueblo d’Isleta and parts of Zuni to the Senate district which already covers the pueblos of Laguna and Acoma, thus increasing the influence of Native American voters.
The suggested maps are among dozens filed with the newly created Citizen Redistribution Committee. The panel is holding hearings in the state and will formally adopt its recommendations on October 15.
But state lawmakers have the final say, and New Mexico lawmakers are expected to meet in a special December session to discuss the redistribution. They are free to choose a card recommended by the citizens’ committee or to create their own.
The 19 pueblos and the Jicarilla Apache Nation say their proposals defend the “independent right of each tribe to self-determination”.
In written comments filed with their maps, the tribal nations said they were “working hard to maintain tribal voting power, develop new electoral districts with Native American influence, and bring New Mexico closer to parity after a century of deprivation of the right to vote and suppression of voters “.