On April 27, the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office said that it recognizes the Independent Party and the Constitution Party as being ballot-qualified. It said the Green Party and the Libertarian Party are not ballot-qualified.
The Green Party does appear to meet the statutory qualifications to be a major party. The law says, “Major party means any qualified political party, ANY of whose candidates received as many as 5% of the total number of votes for the office of governor, or president of the United States, as the case may be and whose membership totals not less than one-third of 1% of the statewide registered voter file on the day of the governor’s primary election proclamation.”
The Green Party candidate for Public Regulation Commission, Rick Lass, in 2008, polled 77,006 votes in a partisan race. The number of votes cast for president in New Mexico last year was 830,158. 5% of 830,158 is only 41,508, so Lass polled more than 5%. Also, the Green Party’s registration is greater than one-third of 1% of the state total.
The catch is that in order to be a qualified major party after any election, a party must be a qualified party, and qualified parties must have polled at least one-half of 1% at either of the last two elections for the office at the top of the ticket. The Green Party was a qualified party on the day of the election, so it would be possible to interpret the law either for or against the Green Party. But the Secretary of State has accepted the more restrictive interpretation.
The Constitution Party is a ballot-qualified party, even though it didn’t poll as much as one-half of 1% for president last year, because law and precedent say that a party gets two elections after submitting the party petition. The Constitution Party did its last party petition in 2008.
The Libertarian Party is not a ballot-qualified party because it did its last party petition in 2006, and because it did not poll as much as one-half of 1%. The Independent Party is a ballot-qualified party because it polled more than one-half of 1% for its presidential candidate last year. The candidate was Ralph Nader.