The Rio Rancho Governing Body is set to adopt a redistricting plan for city council districts, with votes during regular meetings at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 and Nov. 10 at Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle.

Members of the public can comment on proposed plans at those meetings or by email beforehand. The governing body must vote twice to choose a plan.

The public can review the proposed redistricting plans, and the current council districts, at rrnm.gov/redistricting.

At a work session Tuesday, a representative of city contractor Research & Polling Inc. presented five redistricting proposals.

Each redistricting plan adheres to all federal, state and local government requirements related to redistricting, according to a news release from the city.

No action or public comment is taken at a work session. However, most governing body members said they preferred Plan E, which offered the least change, although they wanted adjustments made to it to avoid splitting the Cabezon neighborhood among two districts.

The public can submit input by email to clerk@rrnm.gov.

(Courtesy of the City of Rio Rancho)

Residents are encouraged to submit their comments before Oct. 28. All comments will be submitted to the governing body for consideration.

With the recent release of 2020 Census data, the Governing Body is required by law to prepare and adopt a redistricting plan ordinance following all applicable laws that divides the city into six geographic election districts for the purpose of electing city council members.

The new election districts must be in place and used in the first regular municipal election following the release of the census results. The City of Rio Rancho’s next regular municipal officer election is set for March 1.

In addition, the governing body is required to notify the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office of its newly adopted election districts prior to Dec. 1 for inclusion in the proclamation calling for the election.

The proclamation lists the elective offices to be filled in the March 1 election and provides the date on which declarations of candidacy must be filled. City council candidates for the Rio Rancho municipal election must be registered to vote within the district they are seeking office in on or before Dec. 1, the date the proclamation is issued.

Any redistricting plan adopted by the governing body must, pursuant to federal, state and local government laws, adhere to the following criteria:
• Conform with the Federal Voting Rights Act and with the principle of “one person, one vote”;
• Have substantially equal population (within 5 percent);
• Consist of contiguous territory that’s compact and convenient;
• Preserve communities of interest, including those based on economic, geographic or ethnic characteristics within a single district, to the extent reasonable and practical; and
• Must be divided into six single city council districts.

At the March 1 Rio Rancho municipal election, the following positions will be on the ballot:
• City councilor, District 2: four-year term.
• City councilor, District 3: four-year term.
• City councilor, District 5: four-year term.
• Mayor (at-large): four-year term.
• Municipal judge (at-large): four-year term.