Thursday, September 30, 2010

Write-In Candidate Legal, AG Says

Attorney General Gary King's office has opined that ballots allowing voters to  write-in gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Gomez are legal.

Some county clerks and Republican lawmakers have questioned the constitutionality of Secretary of State Mary Herrera certifying Gomez's for the ballot without a running mate. According to the state constitution, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a team.

Gomez, a political novice, is a Farmington Republican who says he's a supporter of the Tea Party.

The issue came up at the Secretary of State debate yesterday. Republican SOS candidate Dianna Duran said certifying Gomez was a clear violation of the state constitution.

But in response to a request for an opinion from state Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City,  assistant Attorney General Tania Maestas wrote:

"Article V, Section l of the New Mexico Constitution states that "the governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected jointly by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices." On its face, the current ballot is consistent with the constitutional requirements. The space for write-in candidates in the current ballot requires a single vote. It does not require voters to make two separate votes for governor and lieutenant governor, nor does it otherwise distinguish between the candidacies of the two offices. The ballot does not state the name of write-in candidates; it merely sets forth a blank line for purposes of writing in an individual’s name."
Write-In Candidate - Morales