oña Ana County Commission Chairman Ben Rawson has called for a special meeting Tuesday to consider a resolution requesting that the county clerk not include a straight-party ticket option on the ballots for the 2018 election. Rawson, a Republican, said that officials in Lea, Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and San Juan counties have also called special meetings for Tuesday to take up the issue, and others are expected to as well. Tuesday is the deadline for county clerks to turn ballots in to the Secretary of State’s Office, he said. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, announced that she was bringing back the option of straight-party voting, which had been discontinued in 2012 by then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a Republican. It allows voters to select all candidates from one party by filling in a single bubble on the ballot.
In a column that ran Wednesday in the Sun-News, Toulouse Oliver denied that the straight-party option favors one party over another. She said it is another choice for voters that makes voting easier and speeds up the process. And, she said voters wanted it.
“Since 2012 when I was Bernalillo County clerk, and now as secretary of state, I’ve been asked by New Mexicans time and time again, ‘are we going to get the straight-party option back? It makes voting so much easier.’ My answer has always been yes,” she said.
Las Crucen Gavin Clarkson, Toulouse Oliver’s Republican opponent in this year’s election, called the decision to bring back straight-party voting, “an attack on our democracy and rule of law.”