Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ds and Rs Join Hands in Bipartisan Unity ... to Stomp on Independents

In a rare display of bi-partisan unity in discussing legislation concerning elections, a House committee voted unanimously to effectively kill a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections.

Andy Nunez changing his voter registration to DTS last year
House Joint Resolution 17, sponsored by Rep. Andy Nuñez of Hatch — the only current independent legislator — would allow those registered as “declined to state” to request a Democratic or Republican ballot for the primary in June.

According to statistics on the Secretary of State’s website, as of Dec. 28, 17 percent of voters statewide are independents — which means they can’t participate in primary elections, which are paid for by the state.

In Santa Fe County, declined-to-states outnumber Republicans.

Nuñez said that 14 other states — including the early presidential primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire — allow open primaries. Viki Harrison, executive director of New Mexico Common Cause, testified in favor of the measure, saying that it would encourage participation in the electoral process.

 But both Democrats and Republicans on the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee argued that only those affiliated with a party should be allowed to chose candidates for that party. All four members present voted to table the joint resolution.

“I would do anything to get more people to vote,” committee chairwoman Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, said. Nuñez said he wasn’t surprised. “I knew where this was going when the Speaker (of the House) gave it three committee assignments,” he said.


  1. If independants want to vote in the primaries let them register with the parties. They made a choise when they declined to state. That they would not be able to vote in the primaries.

    I for one want Democrats to elect their representatives in the primaries, not Independants. Same goes for the Republicans.

  2. That's cool. How about letting the parties pay for the primary, not the state. Independents end up paying for something from which they are excluded.

  3. As a long-time Democrat, I think they should have tried it. Candidates would still have to be party members. Parties worry about the cost of advertising to non-party members. See who shows up to vote, and advertise to them next time. Experience in other states is that very few cross party lines to vote in the other primary. Only about 30% of the party members in New Mexico vote in the primaries anyway.

  4. The reality is the parties exist primarily for the benefit of the parties and their "leaders". Case in point, when the Democrats threw a big party for Manny Aragon before he went to prison after being convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers - kinda like the mafia does when one of their family members is going to jail. The system needs to be opened up so that, maybe, we can start getting some constructive change in our political system.

  5. In fairness, it wasn't the Democratic Party that threw Manny's party. I think it was some former legislators lobbyists and friends. I don't think much of the current party leadership was there

    Monahan had the scoop on that -- and some photos: