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State Supreme Court To Hear Straight Party Voting Challenge

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The state supreme court will hear a lawsuit next week challenging the New Mexico Secretary of State’s decision to reinstate straight party voting on ballots this November.

The Republican and Libertarian Parties of New Mexico, along with several other groups, say the secretary doesn’t have the authority to make the change.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday. Ryan Gleason is with the state Republican Party. He said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver bypassed public comment rules with her announcement, but that that’s not the only issue.

“You are encouraging people to vote for a party instead of for a candidate and upon further reflection,” Gleason said. “Often times the voter will choose candidates from a party different than the one they vote for at the top of the ticket.”

Toulouse Oliver has defended her decision, pointing to a law allowing her to design ballots in any way she sees fit. The intent, she said, is to make voting easier.  

Straight party ballots allow voters to fill in a single bubble for all candidates of one party, rather than filling in a bubble for each candidate in each race.

Read the full lawsuit here.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
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