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New Mexico LP to Sue State Over Straight Party Voting

Libertarians and Republicans alike are contesting a measure to allow citizens of New Mexico to vote for one single party with one box.

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By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Hot off the heels of Gary Johnson polling second in an Emerson Poll and receiving the endorsement of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Mexico state officials are doing everything in their power to help Democrat incumbent Martin Heinrich win in November. Reinstating the outdated practice of straight party voting, the electoral measure allows voters to select a single box that fills in their entire ballot for one political party. Opponents of the ruling believe it creates an overwhelming partisan advantage in a state that is decidedly Democrat.

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico has authorized funding to file a lawsuit against Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver after she announced on Wednesday that New Mexico voters will have the option to vote straight party in the November General Election. In a press release from Toulouse Oliver’s office, the Democrat put a positive spin on the new choice for New Mexico voters: “The more options people have, the easier it is for more eligible voters to participate–and participation is the key to our democratic process.”

Chris Luchini, State Chair of the New Mexico Libertarian Party, doesn’t see it that way. “It is a straight attack at NMLP, third parties and specifically Gary Johnson. A lot of Democrats are crossing the line to vote for him and it’s obvious what this is all about, which is knocking Johnson out of the race.” Luchini pointed out that New Mexico revoked straight party voting in 2012 and that legislation to implement the voting measure had recently failed.

In an email sent to Reason, Johnson was stern in his suggestion that straight party voting is a “short-cut to partisanship.” What’s obvious to anyone watching the race is that this measure reeks of political maneuvering by the Democratic machine that owns New Mexico. Had Gary Johnson not entered the field as a Libertarian polling over 20%, would we expect to see such a rash move from the Secretary of State? It is hard to believe so.

Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, held no public hearings on the voting changes and has campaigned throughout the state in favor of re-instating straight party voting. The Republican Party called the action a “potentially illegal power grab” and has also announced intentions to file suit against the Secretary of State. Helen Milenski, Vice Chair of the New Mexico LP, posted a link on Twitter to a legal fees fund.


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  1. […] meet the August 15th deadline or risk legal consequences. And given the willingness of the state to hinder third parties, such a reality would not be surprising. Can the party say they did the right thing in this […]

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