SANTA FE — An effort to reinstate straight-party voting in New Mexico was given the go-ahead in the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 276 would allow voters to cast their ballot for every Republican or Democratic candidate on the ticket by checking a single box for the political party. The bill was supported 6-4 in the Senate Rules Committee. It now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The decades-old practice in New Mexico was eliminated before the 2012 election after Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran determined there wasn’t a state law that allowed the practice.
“I think it benefits the elderly,” said Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, the bill’s sponsor. “I think this gives them the ability to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.”
But Republican critics said voters should be asked to consider every race on the ballot.
“I think you ought to have to take a little more time, I don’t care if you’re a ‘D’ or an ‘R,’ “said Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales.
For the 2010 election — the last general election in which straight-party voting was available — straight-party votes occurred on 41 percent of the ballots cast statewide, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Just over half of those ballots — 56 percent — were cast for the Democratic ticket.
— This article appeared on page A6 of the Albuquerque Journal