NEW MEXICO Two Weeks Left and we are Still Moving

Posted by Heather Ferguson and Viki Harrison on March 5, 2017


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Breaking Saturday Win on Automatic Voter Registration

HB28, Automatic Voter Registration at MVD sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, passed the NM House 56-10! Thank you, Representatives!

AVR is a process states are adopting to update our current paper-based system with a new electronic system that creates a secure database to automatically identify and register all eligible Americans to vote. The secure database actively updates voter registration information when people apply for or renew their driver’s license or when they change their address. 

  • Secure. Technology has dramatically changed the way we live. Unfortunately, our outdated paper-based system of voting hasn’t kept up with the times. An electronic automatic voter registration system would use a secure database to ensure that those who are ineligible to vote will not be able to take advantage of an insecure system.
  • Accessible. Automatic Voter Registration will protect the fundamental right of every American, regardless of party, to have their vote counted. And it will ensure that those who encounter barriers to voting – veterans, active military, senior citizens, and people with disabilities – are able to participate fully in our democracy.
  • Accurate. Each year, millions of voter paper registration forms are manually entered into a database. Too often, mistakes happen that deny eligible American citizens their right to vote.

Friday Update

SJR 12 Fair Election Constitutional Convention, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, would call a Constitutional Convention to address Money in Politics. While CCNM obviously supports fighting big money in politics, we steadfastly oppose a Constitutional Convention. Unfortunately, this passed Senate Rules on Friday, while CCNM, LWVNM, AFSCME, ACLU-NM and Voice for Children all opposed – committee members did not share our concerns, and both Democrats and Republicans joined together to call for a constitutional convention.

Why Does Common Cause Oppose An Article V Constitutional Convention?

The call for a federal constitutional convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution is both dangerous and a real threat to our democracy. Common Cause opposes a call for a constitutional convention, regardless of the amendment being proposed, for the following reasons:

  • THREAT OF A RUNAWAY CONVENTION: There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent a constitutional convention from being expanded in scope to issues not raised in convention calls passed by the state legislatures, and therefore could lead to a runaway convention.
  • INFLUENCE OF SPECIAL INTERESTS: An Article V convention would open up the Constitution to revisions at a time of extreme gerrymandering and in an environment of unlimited political spending. It could allow special interests and the wealthiest to re-write the rules governing our system of government. 
  • LACK OF CONVENTION RULES: There are no rules governing constitutional conventions. A constitutional convention would be an unpredictable Pandora’s Box; the last one, in 1787, resulted in a brand-new Constitution. There’s a significant danger that opponents of certain civil liberties could change the scope of the convention and undermine basic rights long protected by the Constitution. 
  • UNCERTAIN RATIFICATION PROCESS: A convention could re-define the ratification process (which currently requires 38 states to approve of any new amendments) to make it easier to pass new amendments, including those considered at the convention. This happened in 1787, when the convention changed the threshold necessary for ratification. 
  • THREAT OF LEGAL DISPUTES: No judicial, legislative, or executive body would have clear authority to settle disputes about a convention, opening the process up to chaos and drawn out legal disputes that threaten the functioning of our democracy and economy.
  • APPLICATION PROCESS UNCERTAINTY: There is no clear process on how Congress or any other governmental body would count and add up Article V applications, or if Congress and the states could restrain the convention’s mandate based on those applications.
  • POSSIBILITY OF UNEQUAL REPRESENTATION: It is unclear how states would choose delegates to a convention, how states and citizens will be represented within a constitutional convention, and who would ultimately get to vote on items raised in a convention.

You can read our full report, The Dangerous Path: Big Money’s Plan to Shred the Constitution.

Saturday and Ethics, Now Monday and Ethics Continued

Today HJR8 to establish an Independent Ethics Commission was heard in the House Judiciary Committee, and the discussion and hearing will continue on Monday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m., or 1/2 hour after the floor session. Sponsors Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Bill McCamley, and Rep. Nathan Small fielded questions from the committee regarding this constitutional amendment that would consist of a seven-member commission appointed by the Governor and leaders from both parties of each chamber. If passed by the voters in 2018, this commission would be effective by 2019.

Our HUGE thanks to Terri Cole, President and CEO of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of New Mexico, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and Conservation Voters New Mexico who testified in strong support of HJR8 before the committee. Accountability and transparency is an issue that reaches across all party lines, is supported by 86% of our New Mexico business leaders, and 90% of New Mexico's citizens in recent state-wide polls conducted by Research & Polling Inc. 

Common Cause has been working on the creation of an ethics committee in various forms for almost 40 years, please help us make 2017 the year that we pass meaningful ethics reform in New Mexico and contact your representative today to ask for their support!

Tuesday, March 7

SB 42, Agreement to Elect President by Popular Vote, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, is on the House State Government, Indian & Veterans Affairs committee calendar for 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

HOW THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE PROPOSAL WOULD WORK

States currently have the power to award their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, although this would be disadvantageous to the state that did this unless it was joined simultaneously by other states that represent a majority of electoral votes. Hence the National Popular Vote plan is an interstate compact—a type of state law authorized by the U.S. Constitution that enables states to enter a legally enforceable contractual obligation to undertake agreed joint actions, which may be delayed in implementation until a requisite number of states join in. There are more than a thousand interstate compacts, and each state in the United States belongs to dozens of them. The U.S. Supreme Court has authorized electoral compacts in "dicta" and several other electoral compacts have been proposed in the past.

Under the National Popular Vote plan, the compact would take effect only when enabling legislation has been enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes— that is 270 of the 538 electoral votes. Once effective, states could withdraw from the compact at any time except during the six-month window between July 20th of an election year and inauguration day (January 20th).

To determine the National Popular Vote winner, state election officials would simply tally the nationwide vote for President based on each state’s official results. Then, state elections officials in all states participating in the plan would choose electors sworn to support the presidential candidate who received the largest number of popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The winner would receive all of the compacting states’ electoral votes plus additional electoral votes from whatever non-compacting states happened to be carried by the nationwide winner. Thus, in practice, the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide would typically receive about three-quarters of the electoral votes.

Thursday, March 9

SB 224, Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, is scheduled for the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs committee on Thursday, March 9 at 1:30 or 1/2 hour after the floor session in Room 315. This bill will extend the Voter Registration Deadline by allowing registration, in real time, through the Saturday before Election Day.

Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout. Our election officials currently have the technology to process voter registration forms in real time thus allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day.

Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tomorrow so see what other bills may be added to committee calendars on the Democracy Wire page of our website!

Follow us on Twitter @commoncausenm & like us on Facebook for mid-day updates and remember to CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS!

Office: Common Cause National, Common Cause New Mexico

Issues: Voting and Elections, Voting and Elections, Money in Politics, Money in Politics, Ethics, Ethics

Tags: Access to Voting , Registration and Voting Systems, Count Every Vote New Mexico, National Popular Vote, Limit On Campaign Contributions, Fighting Big Money, Creating an Ethics Commission , State Ethics

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