There will be no straight-party voting option this year in New Mexico. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled in favor of a petition by the state Republican and Libertarian parties and others arguing that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver does not have the power to put straight-party voting back on ballots without legislative approval. The court didn’t buy Toulouse Oliver’s argument that the secretary of state’s power to decide the form of the ballot includes resurrecting the straight-ticket option. “Did the Legislature intend to delegate its decision-making authority over straight-party voting to the secretary of state?” Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said when announcing the high court’s decision. “The answer to this question is no.”
Opponents of straight-party voting — which allows a voter to select candidates in all races at once by choosing a party of choice — have claimed Toulouse Oliver was trying to revive the practice to help Democratic candidates, including herself. The argument is that candidates in down-ballot races who aren’t Democrats will suffer if enough voters choose to vote straight Democratic.
More voters in New Mexico are registered with the Democratic Party than with any other.
After the hearing, Toulouse Oliver said she was disappointed in the decision but glad the Supreme Court cleared up the issue.