Should NM get rid of candidate petitions?
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Interesting story posted by Milan Simonich of the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership:
State Sen. Howie Morales wants to outlaw nominating petitions, the system now used by major-party candidates to qualify for primary election ballots.
Morales plans to introduce a bill next year to do away with the petition system, which he considers flawed and outdated.
“We should just have candidates pay a filing fee to be on the ballot. I’m going to carry legislation along those lines,” said Morales, a Democrat from Silver City and a former county clerk.
This past spring, one of the biggest snafus in New Mexico political history (and that’s saying something) was avoided after the state Supreme Court allowed Roundhouse and statewide candidates (many of them longtime veterans in the state legislature) to have their names appear on ballots even though they had filled out nominating petitions incorrectly.
Under state law, candidates are required to submit signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office to qualify for the ballot.
Instead of having to collect signatures, some states simply have candidates pay a filing fee to get on the primary and/or general election ballots.
The fees vary by state. It’s as expensive as $7,500 for Republican state Senate races in Arkansas and as low as $2 for state House races in New Hampshire. Click here to look at the state-by-state breakdown.
“It would really be smart” to make the change, Simonich quotes Richard Winger, editor of California-based Ballot Access News. “The government gets the revenue and does not have to spend money for checking petitions or for challenges.”