Las Cruces, NM – Dona Ana County and the City of Las Cruces are in the beginning stages of redistricting. The redrawing of voting districts is required every ten years when new census data is available.
Both the county and city have hired Albuquerque-based Research and Polling Incorporated to conduct a study of the city's demographics and design proposals for voting districts.
In past meetings commissioners expressed the desire for an outside group to be hired to help ensure objectivity. However, on Tuesday former county commissioner and Common Cause of Southern New Mexico representative, Bill McCamley asked that a citizen panel be appointed to reduce the influence of politics on redrawing the new boundaries.
The group would consist of five members, two republicans, two democrats and one from another party.
McCamley says the panel would allow for a true democratic process, something he says has been lacking.
McCamley-"From what I understand what happened the last time was that the process was not very open to the public. When the commission decided to do their own thing none of that was really transparent and that created a lot of issues with folks. This is the sort of thing that is paramount to democracy and the more open the process is and the more the community can be involved the better it is for our local government."
Now the county commission must look at the contract with Research and Polling to see if a panel recommendation can work in conjunction with their study.
Official results of the census will be released in April which is when the redistricting process can fully start.