Redistricting hearing to be held during regular County Commission meeting

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

A public hearing regarding redistricting of the Curry County Magistrate Court will be held during the regular meeting of the Curry County Commission. The meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. today at the courthouse.

The hearing will address the lawsuit against New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, overseer of state elections. The joint lawsuit was filed in May by Clovis residents Terry Martin and Johnny Chavez.

According to the Martin-Chavez complaint, the Fourth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, written to ensure fair voting practices, are violated each time a magistrate judge is elected in Curry County.

“This lawsuit is about giving everyone the opportunity to hold that position (magistrate judge),” Chavez said. “It (the lawsuit) is about making that happen in Clovis.”

In the current at-large system, magistrate judges are elected by a single, countywide vote.

Chavez, who is running for magistrate judge in the upcoming election, would like to have the county divided into two districts.

“We need equal representation for minorities,” Chavez said.

Manuel Lopez, attorney for the plaintiffs, and David Thomson, attorney from the New Mexico attorney general’s office, are expected to attend the public hearing to provide information on the demographics and other data regarding the redistricting.