OUR VOTE IS OUR VOICE

The right to vote is the centerpiece of our democracy. Regardless of political party, New Mexicans want free and fair elections where every eligible citizen can participate.

Common Cause New Mexico is a leading force in protecting the right to vote and making voting more accessible. Over the years, we’ve made progress and our election laws are generally voter friendly.

However, there are still some areas where we must improve, including our closed primary system, which disenfranchises Independent and decline-to-state (DTS) voters. We should also move to ranked-choice voting to give voters more choices and create fair elections.

In New Mexico, we have achieved:

  • Automatic Voter Registration and Same-day Registration, allowing as many eligible voters to participate as possible!
  • Online voter registration available through the secretary of state’s website
  • Allowing 17-year olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election
  • Joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to share voter registration records with other participating states to keep voter rolls more accurate
  • Using paper ballots, which allows for audits to confirm election results

But we can do more. Here are some critical reforms we should enact:

  • We are working to enact Ranked-Choice Voting to give voters more choice of candidates. In RCV elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference, preventing “spoilers” and giving voters the option to choose candidates they prefer, even if they are unlikely to win. With RCV, the candidate who ultimately prevails always secures the majority of the votes. RCV promotes positive, inclusive and fair elections, which encourages a diversity of candidates and saves money by eliminating the need for run-off elections.
  • Common Cause New Mexico has long supported open primaries, 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 either as DTS or Independent. This is a clear signal that our young voters are turned off by partisan politics.

Modernizing systems to secure registration and encourage participation by every eligible voter makes sense and saves taxpayers money.

 

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