Regional
1:18 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Redistricting Plans Go Before Las Cruces City Council

Las Cruces – The Las Cruces City Council will begin the formal process of selecting a new redistricting plan for the six council districts at two separate meetings on Monday, June 6th.

The council will hold a special work session at 10 a.m. Representatives from the Albuquerque-based firm Research & Polling, Inc., the company engaged by city council to provide redistricting options, will be in attendance.

Then at 1 p.m. the city council will meet in regular session to ultimately bring forward the plan it will consider for formal adoption on Monday, June 20th. At a previous work session, the city council gave consensus to further review plan "F".

Redrawing city council district boundaries is required by New Mexico state law and the Las Cruces City Charter to coincide with the federal census every ten years, to ensure that residents in each councillor district are fairly and equally represented.

The Redistricting process must follow five guidelines:

1. Each district shall contain as nearly as possible substantially the same population based upon the most recent Federal Census. To be equal in population in the context of state or local districting would require that the total population of any one district not be more than five percent off from a mathematically perfectly equal population across all districts.

2. Plans must avoid dilution of minority voting strength. With respect to racial or ethnic communities, courts often refer to a "totality of circumstances" in judging whether or not a plan harms minority group voting strength.

3. Communities of interest shall be preserved whenever reasonable within a single district. Maintaining and preserving communities of interest has no precise mathematical solution.

4. Each district shall be contiguous. All parts must be together with no separated "islands" of territory.

5. Each district shall be compact. The total length of all district boundary lines shall be a short as possible.

Both state law and the city charter require the city council to make the final determination of the redistricting plan it feels best meets the needs of the city and its voters.