Ballot access requirements for political candidates in New Mexico

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of New Mexico. Offices include the following:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in New Mexico. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2015

See also: New Mexico elections, 2015

There are no regularly scheduled state executive, state legislative or congressional elections in New Mexico in 2015.

2014


Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2015, the state of New Mexico officially recognized six political parties. These are listed in the table below.

The two major political parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. A major party is defined as any party whose candidate for governor or president received at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election. The four minor parties are the Independent American Party, the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements (detailed below in "Process to establish a political party"). [3][4]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party platform
Libertarian Party Official party website
Democratic Party Official party website Party platform
Independent American Party Official party website Party by-laws
Constitution Party Official party website Party principles
Green Party Official party website Party platform

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. New Mexico does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[5][6]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[7]

Events

Green Party submits petition for ballot access

On June 26, 2014, the New Mexico Green Party submitted a petition to restore its recognized party status in the state. The petition was found to valid and the Green Party was granted minor party status.[4][8]

Constitution Party gains ballot access

In early May 2014, Secretary of State Dianna Duran approved the Constitution Party's petition for ballot access. The party had ballot position for the 2014 general election.[9]

2014 party ballot access

In March 2014, Governor Susana Martinez signed HB 368, which changed the state's ballot access requirements in three ways:

  1. The deadline for a newly-qualifying party to submit a petition moved from April to late June.
  2. Signatures on that petition are presumed valid and do not need individual checking.
  3. The number of signatures for a separate petition, the nominee petition, were reduced from 1 percent of the last vote cast, to 1 percent of the last gubernatorial vote. This has no impact in presidential election years, although the new requirement is an approximately 25 percent reduction in the number of signatures in midterm years. For 2014, nominee petitions for statewide office required 6,018 signatures.

The bill took effect immediately.[10]

In December 2013, a United States District Court judge ruled that New Mexico's April deadline for new political parties to submit petitions was unconstitutionally early. The plaintiff, the Constitution Party, while meeting the deadline to qualify for the 2012 election, filed the suit in 2012 and presented evidence showing that the April 2012 deadline forced the organization to spend $15,000 on paid petition circulators that otherwise would not have been spent with a later petition deadline. The decision declared that, prior to 1995, the petition deadline occurred in July, and the court found that the state did not put forward any evidence or argument to demonstrate how the July deadline caused election administrative problems. Prior decisions by the United States District Court in 2013 upheld a March petition deadline in Alabama and a May petition deadline in North Carolina.[11]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 7 of the New Mexico Election Code

The code defines "minor political party" as "any qualified political party that is not qualified as a major political party."[12] A "major political party" is a qualified political party of whose candidates received at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for the office of governor or President, and whose membership totals not less than 0.33 percent of registered voters in New Mexico on the day of the governor's primary election proclamation.[13]

Qualifications for a new political party

  1. To qualify as a political party, each political party through its governing body must adopt rules providing for the organization and government of that party and must file rules with the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.[14]
  2. Uniform rules must be adopted throughout the state by the county organizations of that party, where county organization exists, and must be filed with the county clerks. At the same time the rules are filed with the secretary of state's office, the governing body of the political party must file with the secretary of state's office a petition containing the hand-printed names, signatures, addresses of registration and counties of residence of at least 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for governor (based on the 2010 elections, 3,009 signatures) at the preceding general election who declare by their signatures on the petition that they are voters of New Mexico and that they desire the party to be a qualified political party in the state.
  • Each political party shall file its rules and regulations within 30 days after its organization and no later than the first Tuesday in April before any election in which it is authorized to participate.[15]
  • Political parties filing rules and regulations with the county clerk shall pay the standard filing fee, which is $50.[16][17]
  • Political party rules and regulations filed are subject to amendment only in the manner provided for in such rules and regulations. No amendments shall be made less than 120 days prior to any general election, nor shall any amendment be effective until 30 days after being filed. Amendments shall be filed in the same manner as original party rules and regulations are filed.[18]

Retaining status

A qualified political party will lose its "qualified" status if two successive general elections occur without at least one of the party's candidates on the ballot in a general election for governor or president do not equal at least 0.5 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor or president.[19]

By-law and convention requirements

  • There are no specific requirements or restrictions on how a minor political party writes its by-laws or holds a convention, but there are requirements for the party's rules and regulations.[20]
  • A political party must include in its rules and regulations the following:
    1. A method for nominating candidates for the general election
    2. A method for calling and conducting conventions;
    3. A method for selection of delegates to conventions;
    4. A method for selection of state central committee members, a state chairman and other party officers, and all other members of governing bodies of the party;
    5. A method of filling vacancies in party offices, committees and other governing bodies;
    6. The powers and duties of party officers, committees, and other governing bodies;
    7. For the structure of the state and county party organizations;
    8. That meetings to elect any party officers, including delegates, shall be held at a public place during the week specifed by the state party chairman;
    9. That notice of such meetings shall be published by the officers of the county party organization in a newspaper of general circulation at least 14 days prior to the meeting and the notice shall specify time, date, and place for the meeting.

Requirements after the nomination of candidates

  • A minor political party can nominate by convention or another method, depending on the party's rules and regulations. The code does not state explicitly whether a minor political party can hold a primary election, but that the party may choose "other methods" to nominate candidates.[21]
  • If a minor political party chooses a method other than a convention, the state chairman and the governing board of the state party must certify to the secretary of state the names of their party's nominees for statewide and state legislative offices. The county chairman and governing board of the county party must certify to county clerks the names of the party's nominees for county-level and local offices.[22]
  • After the nomination of candidates, there are several other statutory requirements:
    1. The chair and secretary of the state political convention shall certify to the secretary of state's office the names of their party's nominees for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, all elective state offices, legislative offices selected from multi-county districts, the public regulation commission, all elective judicial officers in the judicial department and all offices representing a district composed of more than one county.
    2. The names certified to the secretary of state shall be filed on the 21st day following the primary election in the year of the general election and shall be accompanied by a petition containing a list of signatures and addresses of voters totaling not less than 1 percent of the total number of votes cast at the preceding general election for the office of governor or president, as the case may be.
    3. The petition shall contain a statement that the voters signing the petition are residents of the state, district, county or area to be represented by the office for which the person being nominated is a candidate.

Process to become a candidate

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 8 of the New Mexico Code

A candidate in New Mexico may run with an officially recognized political party, as an independent or as a write-in.

For major party candidates

Figure 1: This is the Nominating Petition for the 2014 elections in New Mexico.

A major party candidate files for office by submitting a Declaration of Candidacy form and nominating petition to the proper filing office. A candidate must file the nominating petition at the time of filing the declarations of candidacy. This paperwork must be filed in person by the candidate between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the designated day for filing. The candidate must be affiliated with the political party with which he or she is running. Affiliation with that political party must be made before the date of the governor's proclamation for the primary election.[23]

A candidate may seek a "pre-primary convention designation" before the primary election. A pre-primary convention designation guarantees a candidate a place on the primary election ballot. Every candidate receiving 20 percent or more of the vote of the duly elected delegates to the convention for the office to be voted upon in the primary will be certified to the New Mexico Secretary of State as a convention designated nominee for that office by the political party.[24]

The nominating petition for a pre-primary designation candidate must be signed by a number of voters equal to at least 2 percent of the total vote of the candidate's party in the state or congressional district, or the following number of voters, whichever is greater. For statewide offices, the requirement is 230 voters and for congressional candidates, the requirement is 77 voters.[25]

For candidates that do not seek a pre-primary convention designation, the nominating petition must contain at least 3 percent of the total vote of the candidate's party in the district or division in which the candidate seeks election.

For informational purposes, the table below provides two examples of signature requirements in a state house district.

Number of required signatures State House District 1 State House District 5
Republican primary 112 registered Republicans 24 registered Republicans
Democratic primary 19 registered Democrats 78 registered Democrats

A candidate who seeks but fails to receive a pre-primary convention designation may collect additional signatures to total at least 4 percent of the total vote of the candidate's party in the state or congressional district, whichever applies to the office the candidate seeks. Such a candidate is required to file a new Declaration of Candidacy and the additional nominating petition for the office for which the candidate failed to receive a pre-primary designation. The post-convention Declaration of Candidacy and nominating petition must be filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State either 10 days following the date of the pre-primary convention at which the candidate failed to receive the designation, or on the date all Declarations of Candidacy and additional nominating petitions are due, whichever is later.[26]

For minor party candidates

The selection method for minor party candidates varies according to the rules of the specific party. Broadly speaking, the following requirements apply:[27]

  • The chair and secretary of the state political convention must certify to the New Mexico Secretary of State the names of their party's nominees for federal, statewide, and state legislative offices.[28]
  • The names certified to the New Mexico Secretary of State must be filed on the 21st day following the primary election in the year of the general election and must be accompanied by a petition containing a list of signatures and addresses of voters totaling not less than 1 percent of the total number of the votes cast at the last preceding general election for the office of governor.[29]
  • The petition must contain a statement that the voters signing the petition are residents of New Mexico, the district, county or area to be represented by the office sought.[30]

For independent candidates

An independent candidate files for office by submitting a Declaration of Candidacy form and nominating petition to the proper filing office. Candidates must file nominating petitions at the time of filing their declarations of candidacy.[31]

The petition for an independent candidate for U.S. Senate or any other statewide office must be signed by no less than 3 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the previous general election. The petition for an independent candidate for U.S. House must be signed by no less than 3 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the previous general election in that particular congressional district. The petition for an independent candidate for the state legislature must be signed by no less than 3 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the respective legislative district.[32][33][34]

All requisite paperwork must be filed with the proper filing officer before 5:00 p.m. on the twenty-first day following the primary election.[35]

For write-in candidates in the primary election

A write-in candidate may only seek the nomination of the party with which he or she is affiliated. The candidate must qualify to be a candidate for the political party whose nomination he or she seeks.[36]

The candidate must file with the proper filing officer a Declaration of Intent to be a write-in candidate. The declaration must be filed before 5:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday in March.[37]

No unopposed write-in candidate can have an election certified unless the number of votes received by the candidate at least equals the number of signatures he or she would have had to acquire on a nominating petition.[38]

For write-in candidates in the general election

A write-in candidate in a general election must file a Declaration of Intent to be a write-in candidate with the proper filing officer no later than the 21st day after the primary election.[39]

No person can run as a write-in candidate in the general election if he or she was a candidate in the primary election immediately prior to the general election.[40]

No unopposed write-in candidate can have an election certified unless the candidate receives votes equal to at least 2 percent of the total vote cast in the electoral district for governor in the last preceding general election in which a governor was elected.[41]


Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process with relation to ballot access. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators.

Objections

In New Mexico, within 10 days after the filing of the Declaration of Candidacy and nominating petitions with the filing officer, any voter may file a court challenge. The district court is required to hear the matter within 10 days after it is filed by the voter. Any notice of appeal must be filed with the state Supreme Court within five days after the decision of the district court. The state Supreme Court shall issue a ruling "forthwith."[42][43] The grounds for which petition signatures may be challenged include the following. The voter signing the petition must be shown to:

  • Not be a registered member of the candidate's political party 10 days prior to the filing of the nominating petition.
  • Failed to provide information required by the nominating petition.
  • Is not a voter of the state, district, county or area to be represented by the office for which the person seeking the nomination is a candidate;
  • Has signed more than one petition for the same office where only one candidate is to be elected for such office (if more than one candidate is to be elected to an office, the voter may sign only the number of nominating petitions equal to the number of candidates to be elected to that office
  • Is not of the same political party as the candidate named in the nominating petition as shown by the signer's certificate of registration; or
  • Is not the person whose name appears on the nominating petition.

To avoid risking disqualification through failure to file a sufficient number of qualifying signatures, the candidate and/or his or her agents may wish to consult voting lists in order to verify that the petitions contain qualified signatures. Additionally, candidates may wish to collect more signatures in order to avoid ballot disqualification if the signatures are rejected by a district court.

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Article 19 of the New Mexico Election Code

A candidate for state-level office must register with the New Mexico Secretary of State upon: 1.) raising or spending $1,000 or more for a non-statewide race; 2.) raising or spending $2,500 or more for a statewide race; 3.) or at the time of filing a declaration of candidacy, whichever occurs earlier.[44]

Statutory requirements

A treasurer must be appointed and constantly maintained. A candidate may also serve as the candidate's own treasurer. All disbursements of money and receipts of contributions must be authorized by the candidate or treasurer. A separate bank account must be established and all receipts of money contributions and all expenditures of money must be deposited in and disbursed from this account. The treasurer, upon disbursing or receiving money or other things of value, must immediately enter and thereafter keep a proper record of such transactions.[45]

No anonymous contributions may be accepted in excess of $100. The aggregate amount of anonymous contributions received by a candidate during a primary or general election cannot exceed $2,000 for statewide races or $500 for all other races.[46]

It is unlawful during the prohibited period for a state legislator or a candidate for state legislator, or any agent on behalf of either, to knowingly solicit a contribution for a political purpose. "Prohibited period" means the period beginning January 1 prior to any regular session of the state legislature and ending on adjournment of the regular or special session.[47]

Reporting requirements

Campaign finance reports are filed electronically through the New Mexico Campaign Finance Information System. Each required report of expenditures and contributions must include the following:[48]

  1. the name and address of the person or entity to whom an expenditure was made or from whom a contribution was received, except as provided for anonymous contributions
  2. the occupation or type of business of any person or entity making contributions of $250 or more in the aggregate per election
  3. the amount of the expenditure or contribution or value thereof
  4. the purpose of the expenditure
  5. the date the expenditure was made or the contribution was received

Each report must contain an opening and closing cash balance for the bank account maintained by the reporting individual during the reporting period and the name of the financial institution. Each report must specify the amount of each unpaid debt and the identity of the person to whom the debt is owed.

Contribution limits

The following contributions by the following persons are prohibited:

  • A candidate for non-statewide office, including the candidate's campaign committee, cannot receive from a person an amount that will cause that person's total contributions to the candidate to exceed $2,300 during the primary election or $2,400 during the general election.
  • A candidate for statewide office, including the candidate's campaign committee, cannot receive contributions from a person in an amount that will cause that person's total contributions to the candidate to exceed $5,000 during the primary election or $5,200 during the general election.
  • A candidate for any office cannot receive from a political committee an amount that would exceed $5,000 during the primary election or $5,200 during the general election.[49]

Public inspection of reports

A report of expenditures and contributions filed by a candidate's committee is a public record open to public inspection during regular office hours in the office in which the document was filed.[50]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • New Mexico Secretary of State-Elections Division
Why: This agency provides and processes filing paperwork for statewide executive offices and congressional seats.
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501-4401
Phone: 505.827.3600
Toll-free: 1.800.477.3632
Fax: 505.827.3634
Website: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/sos-elections.html (dead link)
Email: elections@state.nm.us

Counties

See also: Counties in New Mexico

A candidate must file a number of documents with the county elections office in his or her home county. Individual county contact information can be found below.

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in New Mexico are as follows:

  • The governor may serve a total of two terms.
  • The lieutenant governor must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after two consecutive terms.
  • The secretary of state must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after two consecutive terms.
  • The attorney general must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after two consecutive terms.
  • The treasurer must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after two consecutive terms.
  • The auditor must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after two consecutive terms.

The following state executives were term-limited in 2014:

Name Party Office
James B. Lewis Electiondot.png Democratic Attorney General
Hector Balderas Electiondot.png Democratic Auditor

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on New Mexico state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from New Mexico and List of United States Senators from New Mexico

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from New Mexico:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from New Mexico
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 2 4
     Republican Party 0 1 1
TOTALS as of April 2015 2 3 5

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of New Mexico:

Senate

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 24
     Republican Party 17
     Vacancy 1
Total 42

House

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 33
     Republican Party 37
Total 70


Recent news

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. New Mexico Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election Candidate Guide," accessed November 18, 2013
  2. New Mexico Secretary of State, "Events Calendar for Candidates and PACs," accessed November 18, 2013
  3. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-7," accessed January 21, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 New Mexico Secretary of State, "NM Political Parties," accessed February 11, 2015
  5. Election Handbook of the State of New Mexico - 2013 Edition, "Chapter 1, Article 7, Section 1," accessed December 5, 2013
  6. Election Handbook of the State of New Mexico - 2013 Edition, "Chapter 1, Article 4, Section 16," accessed December 5, 2013
  7. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  8. Ballot Access News, "New Mexico Green Party Submits Petition to Restore Party Status," accessed July 1, 2014
  9. Ballot Access News, "New Mexico Secretary of State Says Constitution Party Petition is Valid," May 2, 2014
  10. Ballot Access News, "New Mexico Governor Signs Ballot Access Improvement Bill," accessed March 11, 2014
  11. Ballot Access News, "Constitution Party Wins Lawsuit Against New Mexico's April Petition Deadline," accessed December 18, 2013
  12. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-7," accessed January 8, 2014
  13. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-7," accessed January 21, 2014
  14. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-2," accessed January 7, 2014
  15. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-4," accessed January 15, 2014
  16. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-4," accessed January 15, 2014
  17. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-41," accessed January 21, 2014
  18. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-5," accessed January 15, 2014
  19. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-2(A)," accessed January 15, 2014
  20. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-7-3," accessed January 8, 2014
  21. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-2," accessed January 8, 2014
  22. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-3," accessed January 24, 2014
  23. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-21," accessed January 3, 2014
  24. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-21.1(C)," accessed January 14, 2014
  25. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-33," accessed January 3, 2014
  26. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-33," accessed January 3, 2014
  27. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-1," accessed January 3, 2014
  28. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-2(A)(1)," accessed January 3, 2014
  29. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-2(B)," accessed January 3, 2014
  30. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-2(B)(2)," accessed January 3, 2014
  31. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-45," accessed January 3, 2014
  32. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-51(C)," accessed January 3, 2014
  33. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-45(D)," accessed January 3, 2014
  34. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-45(E)," accessed January 3, 2014
  35. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-52(A)," accessed January 3, 2014
  36. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-36.1(B)," accessed January 14, 2014
  37. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-36.1(C)," accessed January 14, 2014
  38. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-8-36.1(F)," accessed January 14, 2014
  39. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-12-19.1," accessed January 14, 2014
  40. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-12-19.1(e}," accessed January 14, 2014
  41. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-12-19.1(F)," accessed January 14, 2014
  42. New Mexico Secretary of State, "Challenge to Petitions," accessed January 23, 2014
  43. New Mexico Election Code, "Title 1:8-35," accessed January 23, 2014
  44. New Mexico Secretary of State, "Candidate Information for Campaign Reporting," accessed January 7, 2014
  45. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-34," accessed January 7, 2014
  46. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-34(B)," accessed January 15, 2014
  47. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-34.1(A)," accessed January 15, 2014
  48. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-31," accessed January 7, 2014
  49. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-34.7," accessed January 15, 2014
  50. New Mexico Election Code, "Chapter 1-19-32(A)(2)," accessed January 15, 2014