ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For the last year, New Mexico’s democratic and republican parties have been battling it out in the court system, after the Republican Party of New Mexico (RPNM) filed a lawsuit alleging the newest redistricting map of congressional districts is unlawful.
In the latest update to the case, the New Mexico Supreme Court released an opinion this week, advising a district court to use a three-pronged legal test to determine if there is evidence of “egregious partisan gerrymandering” in the map. In the opinion, the New Mexico Supreme Court stated that some level of gerrymandering is permissible, but that excessive gerrymandering dilutes the votes of the people.
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In a statement released by the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) the party stated, “Crafting of the current maps followed a non-partisan, deliberative process that was informed, and invited expert and public input from communities across the state, and subsequently went through the complete legislative process in committees and both chambers.”
The state’s republican party argues in the lawsuit that district boundaries were drawn by a democratic-controlled legislature, which looked to dilute republican voter strength in the state’s second district- which the republican party suggests traditionally favor’s GOP candidates.
The State Supreme Court advised the lower court that to determine if the map is unlawful, NMRP must prove the map was created to purposefully dilute voters from people who support republicans; and that the map did in fact significantly dilute the votes, and lastly, if both are proven true, the government must show non-partisan justification towards the map.
A three-day trial will begin this Wednesday in Lovington, NM to decide if the state will keep the current map, or if it must go before legislation to be redrawn.