SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators are delaying the initial nomination process for congressional and state legislative candidates for as long as three months to allows more time for the political redistricting process.
The first step toward running for public office is to gather signatures on petition forms from registered voters.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Tuesday that petition forms will be available only for candidates aspiring to statewide office on Oct. 1. Other candidates seeking districted offices such as legislative seats are likely to wait until January 2022 for the forms to begin gathering signatures to run for office next \
Pandemic delays to the 2020 census have spilled over into the political redistricting process. The Legislature is tentatively scheduled to convene in December to approve new political districts for Congress, 112 legislative seats and a Public Education Commission that oversees charter schools.
A Citizens Redistricting Committee authorized by lawmakers is collecting public comments on several redistricting concepts, including proposals from 20 federally recognized Native American communities from across New Mexico.
The committee’s recommendations are due to the Legislature at the end of October. The Legislature can adopt the recommendation or start from scratch.
Proposed adjustments to a congressional swing district in southern New Mexico are under scrutiny.
Last year, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell ousted a first-term Democrat from the 2nd District seat. The district’s boundaries are likely to shift and contract to offset population gains in an oil-producing region in the southeastern corner of New Mexico.