Tension between the two former secretary of state candidates played out in a state House committee hearing over a bill that would give New Mexico’s top elections administrator authority in preventing nonbinding advisory questions from inclusion on ballots. The bill, introduced by Rep. Zach Cook, R-Lincoln, stems from the inclusion of what amount to polling questions, that carry no legal weight, placed on ballots by three counties for last year’s November elections. In September, the state Supreme Court granted Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties a petition to include a question on the statewide November ballot asking voters whether they supported marijuana decriminalization.
The high court ruled that Secretary of State Dianna Duran didn’t have the authority to decide whether the advisory questions—submitted by county commissions—could be placed on the ballot. The court didn’t address the propriety of the questions, but focused on Duran’s power to remove them.
Then, Chavez County placed four advisory questions on its ballot that asked about support for right-to-work legislation, concealed carry, whether wolves should be added to a vermin ordinance and eliminating minimum wage requirement for all public works projects in the county.
Cook’s bill, supported by the secretary of state’s office, would ban “a question for inclusion on the ballot” that is “nonbinding and merely advisory in nature.”
Full Article: Duran, Oliver Tension Plays out at Roundhouse.