The Secretary of State’s Office has created a freely accessible centralized repository of voting district information that can be used by legislators, public bodies, and the public at large for the special legislative session that began Monday.
New resources have been added to the Secretary of State’s website that allow users to easily access new Geographic Information System (GIS) data and standard base maps for all 33 New Mexico counties. Gathering this information in a central repository makes it simple for the public to find and utilize the information, whereas previously a person would have to make requests to each governing body to get maps and GIS data for that area.
The University of New Mexico Earth Data Analysis Center (UNM EDAC) provided data collection and data processing support that the Secretary of State’s Office used to build the voting district data clearinghouse. Funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) were utilized by the Secretary of State’s Office to fund this project.
“It’s essential that the public has open access to the important information being used by legislators and public bodies to make decisions during the redistricting process, and that’s what this new data clearinghouse does,” said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “As the legislature and local public bodies embark on redistricting as a result of the release of federal census data, I hope the publication of this information will help engage and inform the public about the critical democratic process of redistricting.”
The maps and data in the clearinghouse are reflective of current districts prior to the redistricting process that will begin during the special legislative session. These maps and data will be updated as the relevant governing bodies at the state and local level adjust district boundaries to align with new census population numbers after the redistricting process is complete.
Senate Bill 304, which passed in the 2021 regular legislative session, required the Secretary of State to collect and make publicly available the GIS data for each voting district by January 1, 2022. The League of Women Voters initiated the original language of SB304 (now codified as Section 1-3-20 NMSA 1978) and were integral in the bill’s passage.
“The League of Women Voters of New Mexico published its first statewide voter guide, Vote411, in 2020. We found that the data files needed to map state and local districts were difficult to obtain and sometimes nonexistent,” said Hannah Burling, President of the League of Women Voters of New Mexico. “The League worked with the Secretary of State staff on legislation, SB304, to authorize the office to create the maps for all to use. We are very grateful to the Secretary of State’s Office for proceeding with this project in an effective and expedient manner.”
The Secretary of State’s Office is also working with UNM EDAC on an interactive web tool that will allow users to view the GIS data and create custom maps. This interactive tool will be available on the Secretary of State’s website in 2022.