Strong Ethics Commission, Automatic Voter Registration Are Common Cause NM’s Priorities For 2019 Session

CCNM News:

Common Cause New Mexico announced its priorities for the 2019 legislative session.

“We’re focusing on creating the strong, independent ethics commission that 75 percent of voters approved in a constitutional amendment last fall,” Common Cause Executive Director Heather Ferguson said.

Over the past few months, Common Cause participated in an interim working group on enabling legislation for the commission, which Ferguson expects will be introduced early in the session. In addition, she said Common Cause is determined to require greater disclosure from independent groups and PACs and wants to make it easier for citizens to vote through secure, automatic voter registration.

Ferguson also said that the group was backing legislation to ensure that the President is elected by a majority, and not a minority of U.S. voters.

Among the specific measures prioritized by the good-government group:

  • A bill to provide the powers and duties of the Independent Ethics Commission to hold elected officials accountable;
  • A bill to allow automatic voter registration using a secure electronic process at Motor Vehicle Division offices and other state agencies (SB 50 sponsored by Sen. Steinborn);
  • A campaign finance disclosure bill (SB 3 sponsored by Sen. Wirth) to require disclosure of campaign spending of independent groups and PACs. This bill has passed the Senate five times, as well as all House committees in prior years. It will overhaul the current law to bring it in line with recent court rulings and modern campaign practices; and
  • A bill to require New Mexico’s electoral votes to be cast for the winner of the popular vote in a presidential election (HB 55, co-sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey and Sen. Mimi Stewart).

Ferguson said that Common Cause also was supporting bills to allow advance election registration up to three days before elections, independent (DTS) voters to vote in primaries, to restore felon voting rights, allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school elections, to clean-up pubic financing and require additional lobbyist reporting requirements.