FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2015
Former State Rep. Bob Perls Changes Party Registration and Launches Independent Electoral Reform Movement for NM called New Mexico Open Primaries
Bernalillo, New Mexico – Former State Representative Bob Perls will hold a press conference at 2:00 pm on June 25, 2015 at the Sandoval County Administrative Offices, 1500 Idalia Road, Building D, Bernalillo, NM 87004, where he will change his party registration from Democrat to independent (decline to state) and announce the formation of a new movement dedicated to electoral reform.
In March, Perls attended Partnerships for Independent Power, the 8th National Conference of Independents, in New York City where he was joined by 500 independent voter activists from across the country. The event, sponsored by IndepedentVoting.org, a national think tank and strategy center with organizations in 40 states, was broadcast by CSPAN.
Perls was joined at the conference by MoveOn.org co-founder Joan Blades, former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, Fair Vote Executive Director Rob Ritchie, IndependentVoting.org co-founder Lenora Fulani, Independent Voter Network’s Chad Peace, Open Primaries President John Opdycke, National Action Network general counsel Michael Hardy and Violence Interrupters founder Tio Hardiman.
“The political process is broken – that’s old news. What I’ve come to see is the breadth of support for a new way of doing politics. Independents are coming together to end the partisanship that is destroying our country.”
Partnerships for Independent Power was convened and hosted by IndependentVoting.org President and author of Independents Rising, Jackie Salit.
“What independents are doing all over the country,” said Perls “is fighting for the structural reforms that are needed to open up our democracy so that voters have a meaningful voice. The political parties should not be the gatekeepers to the election. They are participants in public elections, but are setting the rules like it is their own, private affair.
Examples of structural political reforms sought by New Mexico Open Primaries include: redistricting reform that ends the practice of gerrymandering and primary reform that ends the exclusion of independent voters while moving elections to a non-partisan basis.
New Mexico is a closed primary state. On June 3, 2014 Albuquerque lawyer Ed Hollington brought a lawsuit challenging the system on the basis of State of New Mexico Article 7 section 1 that lists qualifications for voters and affirms that all registered voters that meet the qualifications shall be allowed to vote. Nowhere is party affiliation referenced. The second basis for the lawsuit is Article 2, section 8, within the Bill of Rights, that states all elections shall be free and open and no power shall interfere with the free exercise of the right to vote. In 1969, the NM state legislature passed a bill that says DTS voters shall not vote in any primary. This is in direct conflict with constitutional guarantees. The case is on appeal.
Ed Hollington’s case lost at the district court level when the judge ruled that the legislature could impose prohibitions based on parties’ associational rights. On appeal to NM Court of Appeal, Hollington’s argument is based on strict scrutiny so the state has to show compelling interest to take away the right to vote.
Or Bob Perls