Yesterday, Secretary of State Dianna Duran made an unprecedented attempt to block duly-approved county questions from the Bernalillo and Santa Fe county ballots.
Her three-page long memo did not cite a single state statute or Constitutional provision in order to back up her claims that the questions approved by the county commissions were not permissible. Further, the memo cites the opinion of an unnamed legal counsel. It is unclear who provided the legal opinion, as the state sunshine portal does not list a legal counsel on staff in the Secretary of State’s office.
In attempting to block the county questions from being placed on the ballot, Duran is in defiance of at least two state statutes:
First, NMSA 1-10-14, which states the following:
“…B. Not less than fifty-six days before the general election, each proper filing officer shall prepare in writing the ballot containing the name of each candidate that has been certified and filed as the nominee of a party and any constitutional amendments, questions or other propositions that are to be voted on and certify all such information to the ballot printer. …”
Further, NMSA 1-16-8 also provides that,
“The form for ballots on questions other than proposed constitutional amendments to be submitted to the voters of the entire state shall be prescribed by the secretary of state. The form for ballots on those questions not statewide in application to be submitted to the voters of the county shall be furnished by the county clerk, and a copy of the resolution proposing such question shall be sent by the county clerk to the secretary of state not less than thirty days prior to the election. In each case the ballots shall conform as nearly as practicable to the form required for ballots on proposed constitutional amendments.
“Dianna Duran’s purely partisan attempts to block the will of the Bernalillo and Santa Fe County Commissions is wrong
and it’s voter suppression,” said DPNM Chairman Sam Bregman. “Secretary Duran is taking an activist approach to meddling in the election administration process instead of allowing the free will of New Mexico’s voters to be heard. Throughout this process, Republicans like Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson have made it clear that their attempts to block these questions from appearing on the ballot are rooted in their concern that these measures will increase voter turnout. Why are they so afraid of more voters showing up to the polls? Instead of fairly administering our elections in a nonpartisan manner, Dianna Duran has turned her office into a headquarters for GOP partisan political activities.”