Second Bill Introduced in New Mexico for a Later Petition Deadline for Newly-Qualifying Parties

New Mexico Representative Edward Sandoval (D-Albuquerque) has introduced HB 328, which moves the petition deadline for a newly-qualifying party from April to late July. The bill exists because last year, the April petition was struck down. HB 328 expresses the recommendations of the Secretary of State.

The bill also provides that if the petition appears on its face to have enough valid signatures, there would be no need to check every signature.

A somewhat similar bill, SB 125, also moves the deadline for a petition for a newly-qualifying party from April to late June. However, that bill also lowers the number of signatures needed on nominee petitions, in midterm years. New Mexico is the only state that requires two types of petitions, one to qualify the party itself, and then another petition for each of its nominees (except that presidential nominees don’t need a nominee petition). The nominee petitions are currently 1% of the last vote cast, but SB 125 eases that somewhat for midterm years, but switching to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote. Presidential year turnout is always at least 30% higher in presidential years than in midterm years, so that change in SB 125 would be quite beneficial.

However, the most logical solution would be for either bill to eliminate nominee petitions. Maryland once had such a dual system of petitions, but in 2003 the highest state court in Maryland invalidated the need for nominee petitions, saying they are redundant and not needed for any legitimate purpose.

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