NEW MEXICO A Busy Week Ahead for Better Government!
NEW MEXICO A Busy Week Ahead for Better Government!
First a HUGE Friday win! SB 224 – Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, passed the Senate Rules Committee.
This bill will extend the Voter Registration Deadline by allowing registration 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.
What’s Happening on Monday February 20?
Student Advocacy Day at the Roundhouse! Share Your Voice!
Monday February 20th, 2017 at 8 a.m.
PERA Building, (Old Santa Fe Trail across from Capitol)
Apodaca Hall 2nd Floor (1 flight down)
Interested Middle school, high school, and college students are invited to participate in the 2017 Student Advocacy Day during the legislative session. Talk to your state legislature and urge them to support policies that are important and will benefit you and your community!
- 16 year olds voting in school board elections
- Immigrant rights
- Dental Therapy
- LGBTQI Rights (Banning of Conversion therapy)
The Santa Fe Pick Up van will meet students at the Santa Fe Rail Runner station. We will gather at the old PERA building for a short training then go to the roundhouse to speak with our legislatures. Please know your district’s Senator and Representative beforehand! We also encourage you to bring a small notepad and writing utensil. Lunch will be provided.
HB 174 Local Election Act, sponsored by Rep. James Smith and Sen. Ivey-Soto is scheduled for a hearing Monday February 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill would streamline the included local elections by consolidating their procedures. The elections named in the act would be conducted on the same date, with the same dates and processes for filings, campaign finance reports, and declarations of candidacy, thus potentially reducing costs and administrative burdens associated with conducting several different elections with related procedures and timelines.
This is an important bill for democracy. Low turn-out elections are a problem for democracy and elections which are not held at the same time as either the general election or a municipal election have poor turn out, which can tend to skew things in one direction or another.
SENATE BILL 97, sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth will fix New Mexico’s existing system of public campaign financing. New Mexico currently has three systems for public financing of campaigns: the Public Regulation Commission, Court of Appeals and the NM Supreme Court. On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of public campaign financing in the Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett decision. The ruling, however, struck down one mechanism used in some public financing programs, including New Mexico’s Voter Action Act. While the current bill does not address what was struck down as far as matching funds, it does prohibit candidates who run unopposed from receiving more than 10% of the public funding available to them, and also prohibits the use of campaign funds for living expenses or compensation to the candidate or candidate’s family.
SB 42 Agreement to Elect President by Popular Vote sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart is also on the Senate floor on Monday. 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 into 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.
Thursday February 23
HJR3 Independent Redistricting Commission, sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo, Sen. Bill O’Neill and Sen. Mark Moores, is scheduled for a hearing next Thursday, February 23 at 1:30 p.m. in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.
Common Cause New Mexico supports the creation of an independent commission to conduct redistricting. This 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.
When voters feel that their input doesn’t matter, they stop participating. Seeing incumbents win time and again because districts are rigged to stifle competition creates a sense of incumbent inevitability and creates a disconnection between citizens and their elected officials. This combination of disenfranchisement and low voter participation is toxic to our democracy.
Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tomorrow so see what bills may be added to the committee calendar on the Democracy Wire page of our website!