Open Primaries Moves Forward
On Saturday, January 30, HJR 12, to establish open primaries in New Mexico, passed the first committee 5-3 and now advances to the House Judiciary committee.
We thank our awesome sponsors, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, who, along with New Mexico Open Primaries, gave clear and convincing reasons why we need to allow everyone in New Mexico to vote in the primary.
Common Cause New Mexico has long supported allowing DTS and Independent voters the right to vote in primary elections in New Mexico. This is critical considering that the number of voters registering as DTS or Other has tripled since 1982, from 7% of registered voters to 22% of registered voters in 2016.
Even more telling is the party affiliation of younger voters – nearly 40% of voters aged 18 to 24 are registered as either a DTS or Independent. This is a clear signal that our young voters are turned off by partisan politics.
Every vote should count in New Mexico, and by excluding such a large number of registered voters, we are denying them the right to participate in our democracy. New Mexicans are tired of partisan gridlock in Congress and in Santa Fe, and that is demonstrated most clearly by the rise in the number of voters who do not join one of the two major parties.
Opening the primary election to all registered voters can help combat the apathy many people feel and hopefully help move toward engaging them in the public debate surrounding issues that are important to New Mexicans.
Redistricting is Still Alive
On Friday, January 29, HJR 1, sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo and Sen. Bill O’Neil,l to create an independent commission to conduct redistricting was heard in House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs. Rep. Trujillo was fantastic, answering questions from the committee for over an hour – and the SUPPORT from New Mexico was fantastic! Here are the partner organizations who stood alongside Common Cause New Mexico to say, “We want an independent redistricting commission!”
- League of Women Voters New Mexico
- New Mexico Open Primaries
- New Mexico Voices for Children
- Native American Voters Alliance
- NEA-New Mexico
- Interfaith Worker Justice – New Mexico
- Equality New Mexico
The committee had some great suggestions to tighten up the language, so we sat down with the sponsor and Legislative Council Services to draft a committee substitute. That sub is ready, and we are back on the agenda Monday, February 1, at 8:30 AM to see how they like it!
HJR 1 will establish written criteria for re-drawing district boundaries and require a fair and transparent process for conducting redistricting. The drawing of electoral districts is not transparent, and all too often, there is no public participation. The resulting districts can often serve the political interests of the people who draw them, rather than the interests of the people being represented.
68% of New Mexico voters, across demographic lines, support the creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission.
Please let your Representatives and Senators know that you want their support for transparency and accountability this year!