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Mon February 14, 2011
City of Las Cruces Looking At Redistricting Process
By Vanessa Dabovich
Las Cruces, NM – On Monday the City Council met to discuss the process to begin redistricting for the city. The city has hired Research and Polling Incorporated out of Albuquerque to draw the new district lines.
Every ten years after the release of new census date it is required for government voting districts to be redrawn to accommodate for growth and geographic change.
Research and Polling Vice President Michael Sharp says the process will be done based on five basic principles including equal population, minority voting rights, compactness, contiguity and communities of interest.
Sharp-"I like to think of them as the legs of a table. You have your four legs of a table and communities if interest I like to say is the table top. As long as you have a solid base with those first four then that table top can take almost any shape. "
Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from Common Cause of Southern New Mexico. They presented the council with a proposal to create a local citizen panel to provide input on the redistricting process and provide additional recommendations.
Common Cause proposed a five person committee, however city officials felt a larger ad hoc committee of two people per district would be more appropriate.
Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Thomas says she is happy with more options, but would like to see a training process.
Thomas- "I think that we ought to make this as open and transparent as possible and we ought to include as much public input as we can. I think we are heading in that direction. I would like to ensure the committee gets some training before they start working on the project. "
The process for both Research and Polling and the citizen committee will begin in March and end in June.
A resolution to create the ad hoc committee will be presented to the council at the next regular meeting Tuesday, February 22nd.