Thursday, September 13, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle: New Mexico Supreme Court rejects automated one-party voting

The following was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked a ballot option that would have allowed voters to select candidates from a particular party in all races by marking a single box, bolstering the retreat of straight-party voting options nationwide.
In a unanimous decision, the court found that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver — an elected Democrat — did not have authority to reinstate straight-ticket voting after it was dropped from statewide ballots by a Republican predecessor in 2011.
The court sided with critics who argued that it was up to the Legislature to make a determination on straight-ticket voting. The practice in New Mexico dates back at least a century, but Chief Justice Judith Nakamura noted that lawmakers have waivered repeatedly in recent years on whether to clearly prohibit or authorize it.

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