The Sandoval County Commission has reviewed multiple redistricting plans prepared by New Mexico Demographic Research Organization and a plan Commissioner Katherine Bruch asked to be included that was prepared by the vice president of the Sandoval County Democrat Party.
The commission continues to listen to comments from the public, including residents of towns, villages and communities of common interest and Native American Pueblos.
Districting is much about the numbers of people each district represents.
The county’s ethnic makeup is: Hispanic 38.7 percent, White 42.6 percent, Native American 11.4 percent, Black 1.9 percent and Asian 1.6 percent.
Under the Bruch plan, the Native American population is divided to 26 percent in District 1 and 22.5 percent in District 5, dispersing their voice over two districts.
Under the consultant’s Plan D, the Native American population is 45.6 percent in District 5 and 4.2 percent in District 1, increasing the probability of a Native American county commissioner.
The county population is 148,834, with an ideal-sized district of 29,767. Rio Rancho’s population is 104,046, 69.9 percent of the county population.
Plan D adheres to pre-existing political subdivisions and communities of interest. This is a key principal of redistricting.
Commission districts are realigned to balance the population in each district.
Plan D amends other plans to have towns, villages and communities of common interest and Native American Pueblos in the same districts as much as possible.
All of Placitas, for example, is within District 1. District 1 and District 5 are more sparsely populated than Rio Rancho and impacted by varying topography such as mountains and rivers.
There have been accusations that the redistricting process is sneaky. However, it is an ongoing public forum in which much input is being received.
It was Bruch who requested she be allowed to submit a plan not prepared by the contracted demographer. Bruch’s endorsed plan is designed for her benefit, ignoring the fact that it would chop up Rio Rancho and diminish the city residents’ voice.
Bruch’s plan is highly partisan. This is why: Bruch and Commissioner Michael Meek are up for re-election in November 2022.
Bruch’s plan pads her district to help assure her re-election. Meek has been districted out of District 3, which he represents, and would not be able to run again.
Residents now in District 3 will not be able to vote for a commissioner in 2022 because under the Bruch plan, this right would be moved to Corrales, who voted in 2020 and would again vote in 2022, instead of the normal four-year cycle.
Residents in the core of Rio Rancho would not be able to vote until 2024, six years between elections.
Gerrymandering claims are baseless accusations. Plan D supported by Commissioner Dave Heil complies with traditional population growth and boundaries rather than gerrymandering by chopping up Rio Rancho. The Bruch plan divides communities for her benefit.
Please make public comment at sandovalcountynm.gov/commission/public-comment/. Or, attend the meeting Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Sandoval County Commission Chambers, 1500 Idalia Road, Building D, Bernalillo.
Republican Party of Sandoval County secretary