Open Primaries Act Passes First House Committee

The Open Primaries Act passed the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee today at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Legislative Session News:

SANTA FE – Today, House Joint Resolution 3, the Open Primaries Act, sponsored by Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) passed the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee.

New Mexicans continue to register in growing numbers without a party affiliation under the current state constitution. But these voters are barred from participating in primary elections.

A constitutional amendment, HJR 3 opens New Mexico’s primary elections giving all registered voters the ability to vote for their candidate of choice.

“With increasing frequency, New Mexicans are becoming disillusioned with the two-party system,” Rep. Ely said. “Amending the state constitution so our primary process is open to all would restore faith in our electoral system and allow for voters to participate – a basic tenant of our democracy that isn’t realized today.”

The number of voters registering without affiliating with a major party has tripled since 1982, from 7 percent of registered voters to 22 percent of registered voters in 2016. Even more telling is the party affiliation of young voters. Nearly 40 percent of voters aged 18 to 24 are registered as DTS or Other. Opening primaries allows all New Mexicans to participate in the electoral process, contributing to the health and vitality of our democracy.

House Joint Resolution 3 passed 5-3 in a party-line vote out of the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee and will be heard next in the House Judiciary Committee.

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