Proposed changes to the state Constitution expanding when school elections can be held and modernizing language about who can vote failed to get the required 75 percent of the vote statewide, so they weren’t adopted. Or were they? In an unusual court challenge, the League of Women Voters is asking the state Supreme Court to rule that amendments that won majority approval in 2008, 2010 and 2014 – but failed to hit the 75 percent mark – are actually in effect. Changing most sections of the state Constitution requires the approval of only a simple majority of voters. But four sections, dealing with elections and with the educational rights of Spanish-speaking children, require a 75 percent approval.
The league’s argument: The 75 percent requirement was put into the elections sections of the Constitution to protect voting rights. But the recent amendments don’t restrict voting rights, and because a majority of voters approved them, they are the law, the league contends.
The identical 2008 and 2014 amendments would have allowed school elections to be held in conjunction with other nonpartisan elections. Currently, they can’t be held with any other elections.
“This isn’t a voting issue. There are no rights implicated here. It’s a scheduling matter,” said state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, a lawyer and elections expert representing the league in the case.