SANTA FE – A proposal to open New Mexico’s primary elections to independent voters cleared its first House committee Tuesday.
The measure, House Bill 206, would allow voters who aren’t affiliated with a major party to participate in the June elections that determine who the Republican and Democratic nominees will be each year.
Supporters say the bill would boost turnout and encourage candidates to appeal to a broader cross-section of people, not just their party’s base of liberals or conservatives. It’s also important, supporters say, because many New Mexico races are decided in the primaries, leaving unaffiliated voters with no choice at all in the fall general elections.
A bipartisan pair of legislators, Republican Jim Dines of Albuquerque and Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos, are sponsoring the bill.