New Mexico

Articles about voting issues in New Mexico.

New Mexico: Santa Fe mayor proposes money, runoff for March ranked-choice election | Albuquerque Journal

The Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday will consider two new proposals related to the March 6 municipal election, which a district court judge last month ordered to be conducted using the ranked-choice voting method. One would create a new section in the city’s election ordinance that calls for a runoff election between the top two voter-getters if no one receives a majority of all votes cast, a possibility despite ranked-choice voting’s description as an “instant runoff.” The other amends the city’s public campaign financing ordinance to allow surplus funds to be used on a public education campaign about ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Full Article: SF mayor proposes money, runoff for March ranked-choice election | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: Procedural questions on ranked voting remain | Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe city government late Wednesday released a draft ordinance to establish processes for ranked-choice voting, something a district court judge last week ordered the city to put in place for the municipal election on March 6. While about a dozen cities across the country hold elections using the ranked-choice voting (RCV) method, Santa Fe would be the first jurisdiction in New Mexico to do so. The City Council is expected to adopt a final version of the ordinance after a public hearing at a special meeting on Dec. 20. While the draft ordinance answers some of questions about how the election will be conducted, provided the city’s appeal of Judge David Thomson’s ruling is denied by the state Supreme Court, there’s still much to be worked out.

Full Article: Procedural questions on ranked voting remain | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: City hopes state Supreme Court settles legal questions of ranked-choice voting | Santa Fe New Mexican

Could a ranked-choice election violate the state constitution? City councilors don’t want to risk it. A majority of councilors, while agreeing Monday to support preparations for ranked-choice voting in the March municipal election, said they want city attorneys to pursue a ruling from the state Supreme Court on the voting format. Councilors said a high court decision would resolve lingering questions about ranked-choice voting, including its constitutionality, and avert a potential legal challenge to election results. “Probably the worst thing that could happen is we hold an election and someone comes back after the fact and says, ‘Oh, well, that election is invalid,’ ” said Councilor Peter Ives, one of five candidates for mayor. “Ultimately, it boils down to be a question of the integrity of the election.”

Full Article: City hopes state Supreme Court settles legal questions of ranked-choice voting | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: City to pursue dual track on ranked-choice voting | Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe’s mayor and city councilors said Monday they voted unanimously during a closed-door meeting to prepare to use ranked-choice voting in the 2018 municipal election while deciding 5-4 to simultaneously appeal a recent court order forcing the system into place. The dramatic council meeting appeared to at once conclude the legal wrangling over whether the city would use the ranking system in March, while also carving out the possibility that the state’s highest court could reopen the issue before Election Day.

Full Article: City to pursue dual track on ranked-choice voting | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: Ruling leaves city to figure out details of ranked-choice voting | Santa Fe New Mexican

Don Perata didn’t like it one bit. The former Bay Area state senator had lost a nail-biter of a mayor’s race in Oakland, Calif., and Perata, who’d outspent his rivals, felt like his victory had been snatched from the jaws of … victory. “If this were a normal election, I would’ve won in a landslide,” Perata said in his concession speech in 2010. Perata’s definition of “normal” was a plurality system. The system is familiar to most voters: It’s the sort of race in which you select one candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. The election, however, was Oakland’s first to employ ranked-choice voting. So Perata’s claim — he won the most first-place votes, some 34 percent of the total, 11,000 more than City Councilor Jean Quan — didn’t mean squat.

Full Article: Ruling leaves city to figure out details of ranked-choice voting | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: Santa Fe ordered to implement ranked-choice voting | Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe is set to become the first city in New Mexico to use ranked-choice voting after a state district court judge ruled that the city can’t postpone implementation of the election system any longer now that appropriate vote-counting software is ready to go. Attorneys for the city said after Wednesday’s court hearing that it would be up to policy makers — the City Council — to decide whether to appeal the decision. Santa Fe voters approved a change to ranked choice voting, also known as “instant runoff,” nine years ago, but it has never been used. A group of Santa Feans sued after the City Council decided in July to delay implementing ranked-choice until 2020 due to concerns that software would not be ready for the 2018 campaign and more time was needed to educate voters about the voting method.

Full Article: Santa Fe ordered to implement ranked-choice voting | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: Judge promises ruling Wednesday in ranked-choice voting case | Santa Fe New Mexican

It’s double overtime for the ranked-choice voting case that might turn the city of Santa Fe’s 2018 election on its head. After a daylong hearing Tuesday, state District Court Judge David Thomson said he would rule Wednesday morning on a petition brought by a group of advocates who want to force the city to use the long-delayed ranking mechanism in March, when voters will choose a full-time mayor. The state’s top election officials say the ranked-choice software module is ready. City attorneys, however, say it’s too late to change the rules — and dropped in the curveball argument Tuesday that a ranked-choice election might violate the state constitution.

Full Article: Judge promises ruling Wednesday in ranked-choice voting case | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: Judge: State workers can take paid leave to vote in most elections | Santa Fe New Mexican

State employees have a right to be paid when they take time off work to vote in an election, a state judge in Santa Fe ruled Wednesday in a case that could have consequences for workers in private businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. The decision resolves for now a lawsuit challenging a policy allowing New Mexico government workers to claim paid administrative leave while voting in most elections — but not local races. It was filed last month by two state employees just days before the first round of polling in Albuquerque’s mayoral race. The lawsuit argues that the workers effectively would be penalized for taking time from work to vote in the city election because they would lose either pay or vacation time. First Judicial District Court Judge David Thomson said the state government’s voting leave policy must extend to municipal elections.

Full Article: Judge: State workers can take paid leave to vote in most elections | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: State credits paper ballots as hacker protection | Associated Press

New Mexico credits its reliance on paper ballots in part for making the state less vulnerable to hackers and vote thieves.
The state was not among the 21 states where Russian hackers were accused of targeting voting systems last year, New Mexico election officials said. As concerns circulate about cybersecurity and the election process, more states are considering turning back to paper ballots, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday. All 33 New Mexico counties use paper ballots after the Legislature passed a law in 2006 requiring physical ballots for any election held under state law. The ballots are counted with electronic scanners, and a paper trail is created that’s stored for nearly two years after most elections. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said this process makes it more difficult for the outcome of an election to be altered.

Full Article: New Mexico credits paper ballots as hacker protection - Fairfield Citizen.

New Mexico: State ‘ahead of the game’ on paper ballots | Santa Fe New Mexican

Your bank might want you to give up those paper statements sent in the mail in favor of an app on your smartphone, and your doctor might keep your medical records on a computer instead of in a manila folder. But New Mexico wants to keep your vote on a paper ballot, and a growing number of states are following suit, ditching paperless elections because of concerns about cybersecurity. Russian hackers, according to election officials, targeted voting systems in 21 states last year, but New Mexico was not among them. Government officials credit New Mexico’s reliance on paper ballots at least in part with making it less vulnerable to hackers and vote thieves. The New Mexico Legislature approved a law in 2006 requiring paper ballots for any election held under state law. All 33 counties in the state now use paper ballots. They are counted with electronic scanners, which create a paper trail that must be stored for nearly two years after most elections.

Full Article: New Mexico ‘ahead of the game’ on paper ballots | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: Workers sue state over paid time to vote | Santa Fe New Mexican

A couple of state employees are accusing the New Mexico government of going back on its own policy by denying workers paid time off to vote in Albuquerque’s city election Tuesday. The two workers filed suit against the State Personnel Office late Monday after a back-and-forth between officials and a union representing government employees ended in an impasse. The fight was weeks, if not several years, in the making. The lawsuit came on the same day Gov. Susana Martinez said state government employees could take time off work to donate blood after a mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Full Article: Workers sue state over paid time to vote | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: New petition filed to force ranked-choice voting in Santa Fe | Albuquerque Journal

Efforts to implement ranked choice voting in time for the 2018 municipal election in Santa Fe were renewed Friday when an emergency petition was filed in state District Court. Last week, the state Supreme Court rejected a similar petition. Since that decision, however, the software needed to implement the ranked choice voting method has been certified. “On September 27, 2017, New Mexico’s Voting System Certification Committee unanimously recommended it for certification, and as mandated by the State’s election code for voting systems, it has now been certified and will be used throughout the State in the upcoming 2018 elections,” according to the petition filed by Maria Perez of FairVote New Mexico — a nonpartisan group that advocates for electoral reforms at the local, state, and national level — and others.

Full Article: New petition filed to force ranked-choice voting in Santa fe | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: Legal fight brews over new campaign finance rules | Santa Fe New Mexican

Proposed campaign finance rules that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver hopes to get on the books before what’s likely to be an expensive election year could be headed for a courtroom showdown. The state’s usually mundane regulatory process has become a flashpoint in a national battle over the influence of money on electoral politics. Now a coalition of conservative and libertarian groups that has campaigned against Democrat Toulouse Oliver’s policies is signaling it will sue to stop the rules. Though the policies got a final hearing last week, few of the couple dozen people who turned out for the meeting at the state Capitol were concerned about the wording of the 14-page proposal. Instead, most spoke about what the new policy would represent in a more fundamental sense.

Full Article: Legal fight brews over new campaign finance rules | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.

New Mexico: Governor pocket vetoes proposal to consolidate local elections | NMPolitics.net

Gov. Susana Martinez killed on Friday legislation that would have consolidated most local elections into one beginning in 2019. The pocket veto was a defense of local laws requiring photo identification to vote, Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said. “It would have taken away voter ID in the local jurisdictions that have implemented it,” Sanchez said. “The governor is a strong supporter of voter ID.” Satisfying concerns about preserving local voter ID laws in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and elsewhere was key to winning GOP support for the bill during legislative deliberations. Cities would have been allowed to opt out of consolidated elections if the bill had become law. Supporters said those that did opt out would have been allowed to keep their own rules governing elections, including requiring a photo ID to vote.

Full Article: Governor pocket vetoes proposal to consolidate local elections | NMPolitics.net.

New Mexico: Voter registration during early voting shot down in House | Albuquerque Journal

A proposal to allow people to register to vote closer to Election Day was narrowly rejected by a House committee Thursday.
Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, crossed party lines to join with Republicans to table the bill – a procedure that blocks it from moving forward. The proposal, Senate Bill 224, would have allowed people to register at early-voting sites, which operate until the weekend before Election Day. As the law stands now, the registration period ends 28 days before the election.

Full Article: Late voter registration shot down in House | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: A less automatic voter registration bill clears committee | The NM Political Report

An automatic voter registration bill lost a bit of what made it automatic, but moved on from the House committee that previously blocked it. State Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Albuquerque, was one of two Democrats to previously vote against the legislation in the House Local Government, Elections and Land Grant Committee. He explained after that vote that he voted against the bill initially so he could bring it off the table, citing a parliamentary rule, and reconsider the matter. The bill was previously tabled in the same committee. Ely brought the bill back Tuesday. After a very brief discussion, the committee passed the bill unanimously. “It looks complicated but it’s not,” sponsor Patricia Roybal-Caballero, D-Albuquerque, told the panel of the amendment.

Full Article: A less automatic voter registration bill clears committee | The NM Political Report.

New Mexico: Open primary bill moves forward in Senate | Albuquerque Journal

A proposal to open New Mexico’s primary elections to independent voters survived – just barely – its first challenge in the state Senate.
The bill made it out of the Senate Rules Committee on Monday without a recommendation and now heads to the Judiciary Committee, potentially its last stop before reaching the Senate floor. But that was only after a motion to recommend passage of the bill failed on a tie vote. A similar proposal, meanwhile, is also advancing through the House, though it has not yet reached the floor. Monday’s action centered on Senate Bill 205, sponsored by Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales.

Full Article: Open primary bill moves forward in Senate | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: Automatic voter registration bill dies in committee | The Santa Fe New Mexican

Two Democrats joined with Republicans to kill a bill that would have automatically registered all eligible adults as voters when they obtain a New Mexico driver’s license. Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, questioned whether the bill was necessary when the Motor Vehicle Division can already offer eligible adults the chance to register to vote. Republicans on Thursday evening moved to table the bill in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee. Rodella and a newly elected Democrat, Rep. Daymon Ely of Corrales, sided with Republicans to stop the proposal on a 5-2 vote.

Full Article: Automatic voter registration bill dies in committee - The Santa Fe New Mexican: Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session.

New Mexico: Senate approves popular vote for presidency on 26-16 vote | Albuquerque Journal

Fresh off a divisive election season, the Senate on Monday approved legislation adding New Mexico to an interstate compact aimed at guaranteeing the president – in future elections – would be elected by national popular vote. The measure, Senate Bill 42, passed the chamber on a party-line 26-16 vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, and now moves on to the House. “By doing our part to move toward a national popular vote, we can begin the process of regaining the voters’ trust in our elections and ensure their voices are equal to every voter across the country,” said Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, the bill’s sponsor. However, several Republican critics of the legislation accused Democrats of pushing the change in response to President Donald Trump’s victory. “Just because we didn’t get our way means we pout and change the entire system,” complained Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell.

Full Article: Senate approves popular vote for presidency on 26-16 vote | Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico: Bill would OK registration closer to election | Las Cruces Sun-News

Potential voters would be able to register up until three days before an election under legislation that cleared its first committee hurdle last week. Senate Bill 224 would change current law, which cuts off voter registration 28 days before an election. “It is long overdue that New Mexico update its antiquated 28-day cut off period for citizens to register to vote. Clearly, we have the technology to safely enable citizens to register much closer to the election,” said Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, the bill’s sponsor. “This bill is a great step forward to make that happen.”

Full Article: Bill would OK registration closer to election.