Monday, September 24, 2018

NM Supreme Court KO's one-punch voting option

Court Rejects Johnson-Blocking Straight-Ticket Ballot Change in New Mexico - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

September 12, 2018 - "In a 5-0 decision that removes a late-breaking obstacle from Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson's insurgent Senate bid, the New Mexico Supreme Court today struck down a unilateral move two weeks ago by Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver to reinstate the Land of Enchantment's 'straight ticket' ballot option, whereby voters can select a political party's entire slate of candidates by filling out just one oval.

"The New Mexico state legislature — with the signature of then-Gov. Gary Johnson — had in ... 2001 repealed the part of the election code specifying that ballots had to 'permit each voter…to vote a straight party ticket in one operation.' It took the 2010 election of a Republican Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, to finally remove the one-punch option from the state's ballots, after which Democratic lawmakers have periodically tried and failed to legislate the option back....

"Oliver ... provoked widespread claims of partisan skullduggery with her Aug. 29 decision, which came without so much as a single public hearing.

"'Until the legislature makes a decision one way or the other, the Secretary of State cannot,' Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said when handing down the decision. 'This power is theirs alone, and the Legislature has indicated its intent to thoroughly regulate how ballots appear.'

"The successful court challenge was filed by the state Libertarian and Republican parties, as well as Democratic write-in candidate Heather Nordquist, and the independent-supporting Unite New Mexico....

"The state Supreme Court decision comes just a week after the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated Michigan's 2015 legislative ban on the straight-ballot option, and seems to cement the notion that courts aren't fond of either bureaucrats or judges usurping the will of state legislators when it comes to this type of voting mechanism. Combined with the recent trend of states dropping the device, one-punch will now only appear in eight states this November: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas (which is ending the practice in 2020), and Utah."

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