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New Mexico Ballot Access Bill Advances

On February 7, the New Mexico Senate Rules Committee passed SB 125, with only one “no” vote. It makes several ballot access improvements: (1) moves the petition deadline for a newly-qualifying party from April to late June; (2) lowers the number of signatures in midterm years for a different type of petition, a “nominee” petition; (3) sets up a procedure, a petition of one-half of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, for an unqualified party to appear on the November ballot for president only.

The petition referred to in (2) above is a unique New Mexico type of petition. After a ballot-qualified minor party nominates candidates, then each nominee (except presidential nominees) must collect the signatures of 1% of the last vote cast. The bill lowers the number in midterm years, by making the number of signatures equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote. This change has no effect in presidential years, but would lower the 2014 (and other midterm years) from approximately 8,000 signatures for a statewide office, to approximately 6,000.

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