Santa Fe County will have to realign its commission districts by year’s end to account for population changes over the past 10 years.
“Basically we have to redistrict,” Geographic Information Systems Manager Erle Wright said at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. “Unfortunately, that has to be done before the end of the calendar year.”
All of the county’s five districts have seen distinct population changes since the 2010 census. According to the 2020 census, 154,823 people live in Santa Fe County, compared to 144,170 in 2010.
The county should have commission districts composed of at least 30,965 people, but federal courts have ruled population deviations of 5 percent or less between districts are acceptable, according to a county memo.
Minor alterations will have to be made for Districts 2, 3 and 4 to bring populations into balance. District 2 is about 1 percent above the acceptable deviation, while Districts 3 and 4 are about .75 percent below the minimum amount.
Commissioners Anna Hansen and Hank Hughes said they saw the readjustment as a fairly simple fix.
Hansen said there were voting precincts that could easily be moved to create same-sized districts.
“It seems relatively minor and an easy fix for all of us and not a big impact on our constituency,” Hansen said.
Wright said staff members will approach the commission with a redistricting plan in near the future after gathering feedback.
Redistricting will require a new ordinance and will not affect other county elected positions, County Manager Katherine Miller said.