NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s day two of the gerrymandering lawsuit over the legislature’s redrawing of the congressional district map, and it’s been a battle of the experts on the witness stand. “Based on the work, it seems to a reasonable scientific certainty in my field that these maps were constructed with the intent of disadvantaging the Republican Party and in fact did so,” said Sean Trende, expert witness for the plaintiffs.
Republicans in this case have to prove that the lawmakers intended to gerrymander the map and that they accomplished that aim; in turn, the defendants must justify why the map turned out the way it did.
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The expert for the plaintiffs said this map is a case of gerrymandering based on comparison to computer-simulated models. However, the expert witnesses for the defendants say it actually falls within the normal range of partisanship and competitiveness. “None of the three districts are partisan outliers. None of them are extreme on their partisan characteristics when compared to the 1,000 computer-simulated plans,” said Jowei Chen, an expert witness.
Attorneys on both sides focused on poking holes in the methodology the other side’s experts used to create their model maps. Republicans tried to get the lawmakers who were involved with the creation of the map to testify, but the judge said because of legislative privilege they wouldn’t have to. The court is, however, asking for texts and emails from those legislators.
The state Supreme Court has said this case has to be decided by October 1. Friday is expected to be the last day of the trial.