New Mexico will become just one of several states to still allow the option to vote a straight-party ticket in the upcoming general election under an effort launched Wednesday by the state’s top elections chief. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she’s formatting the ballots to allow voting in which a slate of major party candidates can be chosen all at one time. The move drew immediate criticism from the Republican Party of New Mexico and others who described it as partisan maneuvering. Some critics even questioned the legality of Toulouse Oliver’s decision and threatened legal action, pointing to a vote by the Legislature in 2001 to abolish straight-ticket voting.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson signed that legislation nearly two decades ago and is now running as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate.
“Pushing voters toward straight ticket voting is a worn-out staple of major party incumbents and flies in the face of the reality that the great majority of voters are independent-minded and don’t need or appreciate a ballot that provides a short-cut to partisanship,” Johnson said in a statement.
Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat who is running for re-election, argued that bringing back straight-ticket voting will make it easier for eligible voters to participate.