NM Supreme Court blocks straight-party ticket voting | KOB 4
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NM Supreme Court blocks straight-party ticket voting

The Associated Press & KOB
September 12, 2018 10:26 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. - The New Mexico Supreme Court is blocking a ballot option that would have allowed voters to select candidates from one particular party in all races by marking a single box.

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Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver argued she has authority over ballot forms, including the discretion to determine whether to include a straight-party voting option.

Critics, including the Republican Party of New Mexico, questioned that authority Wednesday, saying such decisions should be made by the Legislature and should be informed by data on voting behavior. They also raised concerns that no public hearings were held before Toulouse Oliver announced the change.

Toulouse Oliver released the following statement: 

“Today’s decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court is a disappointing blow to voter access in New Mexico. We should be expanding voting rights and accessibility but, instead, this decision limits the options voters have when casting their ballots and makes voting less convenient. While I stand by my position that straight-party voting is a reasonable option, I respect the judges’ decision and will abide by it. While there will not be a straight-party voting option on the November ballot, New Mexicans can rest assured that I’m committed to ensuring the safety and security of our elections and I will continue to expand eligible voters’ access to the ballot box in as many ways as I can. 

“In light of this decision, I am recommitting myself to working toward expanding voter access to the ballot box and advocating for policies such as same-day voter registration, open primaries, and - potentially - vote at home initiatives, in order to better serve New Mexican voters down the road.  I hope that those who have opposed the straight-party option, but at the same time claim to support increased voter accessibility, will work with me to enact these important policies that will help more voters' voices be heard at the polls.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico released the following statement:

“Democratic leaders attempted a corrupt, partisan power grab in order to rig elections and undermine our system of democracy,” said RPNM Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi. “The Secretary of State’s move to stack the deck in favor of her party just months before Election Day was so brazen that it was called an act of ‘vicious partisanship’ by a State Senator from her own party. Our democracy is built on the principle of free and fair elections, not corrupt partisan maneuvering that leads to one-party control.”

“This is what you get from a political party that cares about power instead of people. Over and over, Democrats have attempted to rig elections in favor of their preferred candidates. They failed this time because the Supreme Court recognized that New Mexicans deserve leaders who will fight for our democracy instead of undermining it for their personal benefit.”

Credits

The Associated Press & KOB

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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