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GOP lawmakers file proposal allowing for recall elections

SANTA FE — New Mexico is currently one of roughly 30 states that does not allow voters to remove and replace elected officials before their term expires.

But that could change under a proposal filed Thursday at the Roundhouse that would allow for voter-initiated recall elections.

The proposed constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 11, was filed by three Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, who said it would make elected officials more accountable to New Mexico voters.

“Each elected official is here to do the work of the people and the people should have the power to remove them if they see fit,” Rehm said in a statement.

Currently, New Mexico elected officials can be removed from office only through impeachment, which requires legislative action.

Under the recall proposal, at least 25 percent of voters who cast ballots in the last general election that the targeted official ran in would have to sign a petition. If the signatures were determined to be valid, a special election on the issue would then have to be held within 90 days.

An impeachment petition was launched last month against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in response to her decision to remove most New Mexico National Guard troops from the state’s southern border with Mexico.

But top House Democrats have said they would not pursue the matter and Rehm said his proposal was not motivated by the petition.

“It has nothing to do with that,” he told the Journal.

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