Socorro County commissioners last week approved a new district map from the commission. State law and jurisprudence require redistribution. The districts of the commission must have population sizes equal to less than five percent up or down. Commissioners must redraw neighborhoods every 10 years if the census shows that the population has moved sufficiently. They had until the end of the year to approve a new map and hired New Mexico Demographic Research to help them.
For the population of Socorro, the ideal district size is 3,319 people.
They looked at three maps. The commissioners settled on card number two because it is the best way to transfer the enclosure, said Commission Chairman and District 3 Commissioner Manuel Anaya. Planes one and two both held entire neighborhoods together, while plan three would have split quarters. When commissioners initially discussed the proposed plans at a meeting in late November, County Clerk Betty Saavedra said she would prefer the existing 26 ridings to remain intact because it makes it easier to hold an election.
The plan the commissioners ultimately chose is similar to previous districts, Anaya said.
“It broke up District 3 a bit, but due to the population change it made the most sense and really is the best way to help the clerk.”
One of the most significant changes, said demographer Rod Adair, is that two of the constituencies that were in District 1 have been moved to other districts. District 1 is in the middle of the county in the city of Socorro and was 16.6% or 551 inhabitants above the ideal size of the district. It had four constituencies: 8, 3, 10 and 17.
District 8 and 3 remained in District 1, while District 17 ended up in District 4 and District 10 ended up in District 5.
The other major move was compound 6 from District 3 to District 5, Adair said.
The city of Socorro is further divided between several commission districts. The city has a population of 8,707, or about half of the county’s population of 16,595.
With the new map, District 1 measures 1.92 miles and has a population of 3,230. District 2 is 881.25 square miles with a population of 3,426. District 3 is 10.98 square miles with a population of 3,386. District 4 is 1,963.38 square miles with a population of 3,323. At 3,792.61 square miles, District 5 could be one of the largest commission districts in the state, Adair said. The population of the newly drawn District 5 is exactly the same as that of District 1: 3,230 of almost 2 square miles.