At New Mexico Open Elections, we are working to fix the root causes of our political dysfunction in New Mexico. New Mexico is among the last of the States to adopt an election system that encourages dialogue, rewards compromise, and elevates politicians who actually solve problems. We can’t wait any longer to have the political system we deserve.
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The problem is that we are using an aging political system that is now obsolete. The winner takes all election style that we primarily use in the U.S. inherently leads us to a two party system. We need a system that incentivizes all candidates to listen to all voters all the time. We need to move towards proportional representation so that minority interests have a realistic chance of being represented in legislatures, county commissions, and city councils.
Reform is challenging to enact in New Mexico, because we lack systems found in most of the country. We do not have a Citizen Ballot Initiative. All changes in our laws must go through our legislature, which is limited in its effectiveness with unpaid legislators, few staff, and a short legislative session. As we talk about reform options, we express our sincere belief that these ideas are not about incumbent replacement, rather these ideas about ensuring that all constituents are able to participate in a representative and responsive democracy.
Let’s change the incentives in our system so that all voters can vote in all publicly funded elections. When we the people change the winner take all system to a system that includes ranked choice voting combined with open primaries, we see more elected officials voting their conscience, listening to a more diverse constituency with outcomes more representative of a greater number of people.
Here are some of the current elections issues New Mexicans face:
- Hyper-Partisanship: 25% of NM voters are registered as independent and cannot vote in primary elections.
- Low Incentives: When Independent and Minor party voters change their voter registration to vote in primaries, they are barred from participating as election judges, poll watchers, and other roles that benefit our democracy.
- Low Competition: NM has the most number of uncompetitive districts in the U.S., which leaves voters with no options when voting.
- Low Representation: Like many states, NM has gerrymandered districts that are not representative of our population and communities.
- Low Participation: During the 2022 primary elections, only 23% of the voting population voted. That is not a representative and democratic percentage.
- Low Accountability: Elected officials have low accountability as party primaries are dominated by a small number of party activists and well-funded special interest groups. Politicians generally escape accountability from the rest of their constituency.
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