IN FOCUS: A Discussion About State Redistricting And Money In Politics

Feb 9, 2018

On a recent taping of KRWG-TV’s In Focus, Viki Harrison, Executive Director of Common Cause New Mexico says that her organization has called for an independent state redistricting commission. Harrison says with high profile court cases; the redistricting issue is heating up across the country.

“The legislators are drawing districts to suit themselves and their parties. It’s basically legislators choosing their voters instead of the other way around,” says Harrison.

Harrison admits it’s a tough battle, but she says she hopes that there will be legislative hearings on the issue, especially with the census coming up in 2020. Harrison says that New Mexico is one of the most undercounted states in the country.

“We’ve got a lot of space to cover, and so if you’re undercounted in the census then that means a lot less federal money in the state,” says Harrison.

Common Cause New Mexico also is pushing for automatic voter registration. Harrison says that states that have automatic voter registration are showing some results.

“The people that were automatically registered voted at a higher percentage than the people who sought it out (registration),” says Harrison.

Harrison says some states have restricted early voting and have eliminated polling places, she credits for New Mexico for being a “shining star” when it comes to everything, but she is critical of the state’s voter registration deadlines.

“It cuts off 28 days before an election which is way too early,” says Harrison.

Harrison says that her organization wants to make sure that everyone who is eligible can vote.

Common Cause New Mexico also is calling for the state legislator to call on Congress to address money in politics. Harrison says that almost 20 states have called on Congress to address this issue. She says it’s a major problem at the national and local level.

“When we look at even the smaller races, when we are talking about city councilors, state representatives…and it’s out of control,” says Harrison.