New Mexico is no stranger to the federal government requirement to seek approval from Washington before making changes to state legislative districts. The practice, which the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended Tuesday, was required in New Mexico by the U.S. Department of Justice during redistricting conducted in 1991. The requirement came after New Mexico redistricting efforts in the early ’80s sparked legal action claiming the process was discriminatory. “A three-judge panel concluded that a history of discrimination did exist in New Mexico,” said longtime New Mexico redistricting consultant Brian Sanderoff. “New Mexico was a pre-clearance state because of the alleged sins of the early ’80s.”
After the 1991 redistricting with DOJ oversight went smoothly, the Department of Justice agreed to allow New Mexico to be removed from its list of states requiring its oversight for future redistricting conducted in 2001 and 2011, Sanderoff said.
In 2006, Congress expanded the oversight required in the Voting Rights Act to require affected states to seek approval for any changes to election laws.
New Mexico was exempt from that change because it was no longer a pre-clearance state.
Full Article: » N.M. was affected by Voting Rights Act | ABQ Journal.