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Comment sought on election laws

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Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver answers questions after a state Supreme Court hearing in Santa Fe last year. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – New Mexico is continuing to tune up its election laws – this time clarifying the rules on ranked-choice voting and the wording of ballot questions.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat and the state’s chief election officer, is seeking public comment on two proposed rules, both required under legislation passed by lawmakers earlier this year.

Public hearings are scheduled in late July.

“These rules will give clarity and guidance to important policies that were passed during the last legislative session to increase voter access and provide more effective election administration,” Toulouse Oliver said in a written statement.

One of the proposed rules defines a variety of terms for use in ranked-choice voting – in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference. The ranking is used as an “instant runoff” of sorts if no candidate gets a majority of the votes in the first round of results.

Ranked-choice voting would be used only if the governing body of the agency has approved it.

The second proposed rule centers on ballot text. It establishes procedures for the secretary of state to approve a condensed summary to appear on the ballot rather than the full text of a proposed ballot question, in the interest of convenience and consistency.

The hearings are scheduled for:

⋄  9 a.m. July 29 in the state Capitol, Room 322, in Santa Fe.

⋄  9 a.m. July 30 in the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center in Albuquerque.

⋄  1 p.m. July 31 Doña Ana County Government Center in Las Cruces.

Visit sos.state.nm.us to view the rules and learn more.

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