NM Secretary of State ends straight-ticket voting option
Posted at: 06/18/2012 7:01 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
Voting the straight party ticket will soon be a lot harder to do in New Mexico elections. The practice of voting straight Democrat or straight Republican with just one mark on the ballot will not be an option in the general election this November.
Secretary of State Dianna Duran decided not to allow the historic option in this year's election because it is not specifically required by the state constitution or the state election laws. Voters who want to vote for all Democrats or all Republicans will have to do it the hard way - race by race and candidate by candidate.
"I'm for it," said voter Bill Gilbert. "I think people actually ought to choose who they're voting for, not just choose a party - the party thing is too simple."
"When you know that you have the option to vote on the straight party ticket it really simplifies the process," said voter Amber Carillo. "If you take that option away you're going to discourage voters."
"I think people should actually consider what they're actually voting for instead of just the party line," said voter Christopher Carey. "Hopefully people will research what they're actually voting for."
Election-watchers worry that many voters will simply skip voting on races for lower offices.
"It's the races that are lower down on the ballot where voters often take advantage of party affiliation," said University of New Mexico political science professor Tim Krebs. " People use that affiliation to make a choice in an environment where information is not as plentiful."
In the last general election, 41 percent of new Mexico voters voted straight party tickets. More than half were Democrats, but the practice is popular among Republicans too. The state's Democratic party leadership is considering a legal action to keep the straight party ticket.
Only 13 states currently allow straight party ticket voting.