New Mexico Constitution Party and New Mexico Green Party Sue over Too-Early Petition Deadline

On March 29, the Green Party and the Constitution Party jointly filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging that the New Mexico deadline for petitions to qualify a party is too early. That deadline is the first Tuesday of April, which this year is April 3. Here is the complaint. The case is Constitution Party of New Mexico v Duran.

In New Mexico, newly-qualifying parties nominate by convention, not by primary, so there seems to be no election-administration reason for the deadline to be so early. In the past, the deadline for a new party to qualify in New Mexico has been in October, then September, and then July. In 1995 it was moved to April, apparently because the majority party in the legislature, the Democratic Party, was angry that in the 1994 gubernatorial election, the Green Party gubernatorial candidate had polled 10.3% and apparently caused the defeat of the Democratic Party nominee. So, in 1995, the legislature made several hostile changes to the election law relating to minor parties, including moving the petition deadline from July to April, and also doubling the number of signatures needed for non-presidential minor party nominees to get on the November ballot.


New Mexico Constitution Party and New Mexico Green Party Sue over Too-Early Petition Deadline — No Comments

  1. I know that the Constitution Party had people gathering petition signatures in New Mexico. Does anyone know if these signatures got turned into the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office or not, and if so how many they turned in?

  2. It’s possible the Constitution Party will turn in enough valid signatures. But courts this year have been fussy about lawsuit timing. Courts want the lawsuits filed as soon as the group even suspects it will have a problem. Also the New Mexico Secretary of State has traditionally been very slow to check minor party petitions, and if the Constitution Party waited until it got word about how many it has, if it didn’t have enough, courts might say, “Sorry, you should have filed this lawsuit sooner.” Even in Oklahoma, where the Libertarian Party filed its lawsuit on Jan. 31, 2012, the state’s attorneys criticized the party in court for not having filed the lawsuit in 2011.

    And don’t forget, the Green Party is in this new New Mexico lawsuit also, and it may not have enough by the April 3 deadline.

  3. What were the bill numbers for the laws passed in 1995? I’d like to see who voted for what and cross check any current office holders. Thanks!

  4. The petitions will be Tuesday based on my information…which is the last day. We believe will turn in a sufficient amount over the requirement to keep us in good shape, but wanted to support the purpose of this lawsuit and, of course, it is better to be safe than sorry. If there were to be an unpleasant surprise we would like to have a back up plan. New Mexico is one of the states that the “independent route” is not a reasonable option, at least for us, as it reguires 5-6 times more signatures than the party option.

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  6. #3, the 1995 bill was HB 1079. Besides moving the deadline to April, and doubling the number of signatures for the non-presidential nominees of non-qualified parties, it also made it more difficult for candidates to get on the primary of a party that is holding a primary for the first time. And it made it more difficult for a party to be ballot-qualified for a primary, by adding a registration test in addition to the vote test. And it barred people from entering the primary of a party if they hadn’t been members for 4 months. Unfortunately, Governor Gary Johnson was newly in office, and he signed this dumb bill. The part about a person needing to have been a member of a party for 4 months to be a candidate in that party was declared unconstitutional in 2011 (for parties that don’t want that provision).

    Gary Johnson did veto an election bill in 1997. That 1997 bill banned write-ins.

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