Wednesday, February 17, 2016

NM Proposed Amendment to Let Independents Vote in Primaries is Tabled

Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post.

On February 15, the New Mexico House Judiciary Committee tabled HJR 12, the proposed State Constitutional Amendment that said independent voters may vote in partisan primaries.

One of the sponsors, Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Bernalillo, said the proposal would get more New Mexicans involved in the political process. He cited record low voter turnout and a growing population of independent voters. “I’m a firm believer in the idea that, if folks vote in the primaries, they’ll also vote in November,” Maestas told members of the Committee.

According to the New Mexico’s Secretary of State’s office, almost 20 percent of New Mexico voters are independents.

The proposal would have put the question on the ballot in November. Many of the details of exactly how it would work would be left for the Legislature to figure out next year.

Maestas listed a number of ways that could be done, but Rep. Jim Dines, R-Bernalillo, said he would rather allow the voters to decide on a detailed proposal. He said he was worried about the ambiguity surrounding how, exactly, the right to vote in primaries would be implemented. “This simply grants the right that all qualified electors can vote in the primaries,” Maestas said.

Richard explained, New Mexico major party political leaders act as though they don’t realize that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 said that parties decide for themselves whether to let independents vote in their primaries, and state laws cannot set that policy for any party.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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