New Mexico ‘open primaries’ bill passed House committee

January 30, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico proposal that would allow independent voters to participate in the state’s primary elections has passed its first test.

The New Mexico House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-2 to move along a bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Natalie Figueroa that would let “decline-to-state” voters cast ballots in either the Democratic and Republican primaries.

The committee’s two Republicans opposed the measure.

Proponents of the bill say open primaries would allow more voters to participate in primaries.

But Republican Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell says the open primary proposal would be “an absolute nightmare” for county clerks offices.

About 22 percent for registered voters decline party affiliations in New Mexico. State law requires voters to register with a party 28 days before participating in a primary election.

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