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Editorial: Journal recommendation for NM secretary of state

Secretary of State – Maggie Toulouse Oliver

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver has close to 10 years of hands-on experience running elections in the state’s most populous county – and that’s 10 years of making those elections run faster and smoother than her predecessors.

Toulouse Oliver oversaw bringing voting convenience centers and ballot on demand to Bernalillo County in 2012, allowing voters to go to any voting site, check in, and have a ballot printed with the specific races linked to their home address. Voters no longer have to remember their precincts or figure out which site in their neighborhood has a stack of pre-printed ballots waiting for someone to show up. It has made early voting and Election Day more convenient and efficient for voters and cheaper for taxpayers.

The Democrat plans to bring similar improvements to the Secretary of State’s Office, enhancing the campaign finance reporting system so it is searchable by individual and industry donors, providing the public with the bigger picture and revealing patterns. She plans to promulgate the rules required to ensure campaign finance laws are implemented, and implemented fairly. She plans to build on the statewide voter registration database so information is current and accurate, expand the online business portal so more than LLCs can easily get businesses up and running, advocate for consolidating nonpartisan elections to improve turnout and save public dollars, and push to get Homeland Security oversight on elections to preserve their integrity from cyber criminals.

In the name of continuing to improve the system, Toulouse Oliver needs to rethink her push to return to straight-party ticket voting, an anachronism that primarily serves party bosses and encourages voters to pledge allegiance to political groupthink. It also ignores the reality that one out of every five voting New Mexicans is registered as DTS – declined to state, aka independent. More than 200,000 New Mexicans have chosen to disenfranchise themselves in primary elections by shunning both the Democratic and Republican parties. Independents are the fastest-growing group of voters – the secretary of state should be trying to draw voters into the tent, not discourage independent thinking as well.

She also would do a great public service by working to implement a form of voter ID that doesn’t impose a significant burden on voters. She has said she is open to doing anything that would make elections more secure without disenfranchising people.

After a parade of less-than-stellar secretaries of state, the most recent elected official now a convicted felon, New Mexico needs someone in the office with a proven track record that’s on point to the tasks at hand. The Journal believes voters should elect Maggie Toulouse Oliver their next secretary of state.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.