Supreme Court allows NM candidates on ballots

Posted at: 04/10/2012 7:27 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico State Supreme Court justices have decided not to boot as many as two dozen candidates off the ballot for the June 5 primary election, even though their nominating paperwork is incomplete and does not comply with the state's newly revised election code.

The candidates, including State Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings of Roswell, failed to include their district numbers on their nominating petitions. Jennings called the challenges "gotcha" politics - a case of "nitpicking".

"Not having your district number on it is not a reason that's listed under the law as a reason you can [in]validate a petition," Jennings said.

Lawyers said it is not listed in the Secretary of State's guide for candidates, nor is there a line or a space for that particular information on the petition form, but it is included in amendments to the election code that the legislature passed in 2011. Jennings and most other lawmakers voted for the changes.

Lawyers for the challengers argued that those who flubbed their paperwork should suffer the consequences and get kicked off the ballot.

"If we create an exception because our elected officials got confused, because they weren't familiar with the law, because they didn't look at the Secretary of State's candidates' guide, we would be creating a dangerous exception," said Paul Melendres.

The Supreme Court justices made an unusually swift ruling because the state needs to start printing ballots as soon as possible to get them to New Mexico voters serving overseas in the military.

Supreme Court allows NM candidates on ballots |