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Duran wins second term as secretary of state

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran won a second term Tuesday by fending off a strong challenge from Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver in a race that centered on voter ID and nonbinding marijuana questions in two of the state’s most populous counties.

The contest also focused on Duran’s style of election management and her efforts to combat what she sees as widespread voter fraud. Duran has sent examples of suspected fraud to state and federal authorities to investigate.

“We don’t know how bad the problem is because we don’t have voter ID,” Duran said. “My opponent has been against it.”

Oliver, the Bernalillo County clerk, argued that fraud was rare and voter ID efforts would only prevent certain residents from casting ballots.

“We’re 50 years from the Voting Rights Act, and we’re still fighting this. That’s wrong,” Oliver said.

Instead, she advocated for same-day registration as a way to increase voter participation in the state.

The two candidates also clashed over efforts by New Mexico municipalities to include nonbinding questions on the ballot.

Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties passed measures to ask voters their opinions on reduced marijuana penalties, but Duran attempted to block those efforts. Early results late Tuesday showed voters in both counties supported both measures by wide margins.

Republicans charged that the nonbinding marijuana questions were nothing more than attempts by Democrats to increase turnout among younger voters and a waste a taxpayer resources.

Duran called the measures mere “poll questions.”

But the state Supreme Court last month overturned her office’s decision, allowing the questions to remain on the ballot.

Oliver had argued the court’s decision showed Duran overstepped her authority.

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Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras.

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