Laws governing ballot measures in New Mexico
New Mexico Constitution
The state does not have the statewide initiative process and so therefore the following provisions discuss the procedures used by the state legislature to place constitutional amendments on the ballot. However, New Mexico does have the popular referendum process. The provisions of this process are included as well.
Article IV Sec. 1. Vesting of legislative power; location of sessions; referendum on legislation.
The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and house of representatives which shall be designated the legislature of the state of New Mexico, and shall hold its sessions at the seat of government.
The people reserve the power to disapprove, suspend and annul any law enacted by the legislature, except general appropriation laws; laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety; for the payment of the public debt or interest thereon, or the creation or funding of the same, except as in this constitution otherwise provided; for the maintenance of the public schools or state institutions, and local or special laws. Petitions disapproving any law other than those above excepted, enacted at the last preceding session of the legislature, shall be filed with the secretary of state not less than four months prior to the next general election.
Such petitions shall be signed by not less than ten percent of the qualified electors of each of three-fourths of the counties and in the aggregate by not less than ten percent of the qualified electors of the state, as shown by the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election. The question of the approval or rejection of such law shall be submitted by the secretary of state to the electorate at the next general election; and if a majority of the legal votes cast thereon, and not less than forty percent of the total number of legal votes cast at such general election, be cast for the rejection of such law, it shall be annulled and thereby repealed with the same effect as if the legislature had then repealed it, and such repeal shall revive any law repealed by the act so annulled; otherwise, it shall remain in force unless subsequently repealed by the legislature.
If such petition or petitions be signed by not less than twenty-five per centum of the qualified electors under each of the foregoing conditions, and be filed with the secretary of state within ninety days after the adjournment of the session of the legislature at which such law was enacted, the operation thereof shall be thereupon suspended and the question of its approval or rejection shall be likewise submitted to a vote at the next ensuing general election.
If a majority of the votes cast thereon and not less than forty percent of the total number of votes cast at such general election be cast for its rejection, it shall be thereby annulled; otherwise, it shall go into effect upon publication of the certificate of the secretary of state declaring the result of the vote thereon. It shall be a felony for any person to sign any such petition with any name other than his own, or to sign his name more than once for the same measure, or to sign such petition when he is not a qualified elector in the county specified in such petition; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the writing thereon of the name of any person who cannot write, and who signs the same with his mark. The legislature shall enact laws necessary for the effective exercise of the power hereby reserved.
Article XIX Sec. 1. Proposing and ratifying amendments.
An amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature at a regular session; and if a majority of all members elected to each of the two houses voting separately votes in favor thereof, the proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their respective journals with the yeas and nays thereon. An amendment or amendments may also be proposed by an independent commission established by law for that purpose, and the amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the legislature for its review in accordance with the provisions of this section.
The secretary of state shall cause any such amendment or amendments to be published in at least one newspaper in every county of the state, where a newspaper is published once each week, for four consecutive weeks, in English and Spanish when newspapers in both of said languages are published in such counties, the last publication to be not more than two weeks prior to the election at which time said amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the electors of the state for their approval or rejection; and shall further provide notice of the content and purpose of legislatively approved constitutional amendments in both English and Spanish to inform electors about the amendments in the time and manner provided by law.
The secretary of state shall also make reasonable efforts to provide notice of the content and purpose of legislatively approved constitutional amendments in indigenous languages and to minority language groups to inform electors about the amendments. Amendments approved by the legislature shall be voted upon at the next regular election held after the adjournment of that legislature or at a special election to be held not less than six months after the adjournment of that legislature, at such time and in such manner as the legislature may by law provide. An amendment that is ratified by a majority of the electors voting on the amendment shall become part of this constitution.
If two or more amendments are initiated by the legislature, they shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each of them separately. Amendments initiated by an independent commission created by law for that purpose may be submitted to the legislature separately or as a single ballot question, and any such commission initiated amendments that are not substantially altered by the legislature may be submitted to the electors in the separate or single ballot question form recommended by the commission.
No amendment shall restrict the rights created by Sections One and Three of Article VII hereof, on elective franchise, and Sections Eight and Ten of Article XII hereof, on education, unless it be proposed by vote of three-fourths of the members elected to each house and be ratified by a vote of the people of this state in an election at which at least three-fourths of the electors voting on the amendment vote in favor of that amendment. (As amended November 7, 1911 and November 5, 1996.)
Sec. 2. Constitutional conventions.
Whenever the legislature, by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house, deems it necessary to call a convention to revise or amend this constitution, they shall submit the question of calling such convention to the electors at the next general election, and if a majority of all the electors voting on such questions at said election in the state votes in favor of calling a convention, the legislature shall, at the next session, provide by law for calling the same. Such convention shall consist of at least as many delegates as there are members of the house of representatives. Revisions or amendments proposed by a constitutional convention shall be submitted to the voters of the state at an election held on a date set by the convention. The revisions or amendments proposed by the convention may be submitted in whole or in part, or with alternatives, as determined by the convention. If a majority vote favors a proposal or alternative, it is adopted and becomes effective thirty days after the certification of the election returns unless otherwise provided by the convention. (As amended November 7, 1911 and November 5, 1996.)
Sec. 3. Initiative restricted.
If this constitution be in any way so amended as to allow laws to be enacted by direct vote of the electors the laws which may be so enacted shall be only such as might be enacted by the legislature under the provisions of this constitution. (As amended November 7, 1911.)
Sec. 4. Amendment of compact with United States.
When the United States shall consent thereto, the legislature, by a majority vote of the members in each house, may submit to the people the question of amending any provision of Article XXI of this constitution on compact with the United States to the extent allowed by the act of congress permitting the same, and if a majority of the qualified electors who vote upon any such amendment shall vote in favor thereof the said article shall be thereby amended accordingly.
Restrictions on circulators
- See also: Petition circulator
In New Mexico, circulators must complete a verification process. Each petition contains a mandatory circulator affidavit. The circulator must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition. There is no state statute that states a circulator cannot sign the petition he/she is circulating, however, the statute does state, "No page of a referendum petition shall contain signatures of petitioners from more than one county." Additionally, there are instructions regarding delivering signatures to the secretary of state: "When a complete set of pages is delivered to the secretary of state as a completed petition, the sponsors shall also deliver a certified list of the registered voters of the county in which the particular pages were circulated and signed."
Bills that have or might be introduced in the 2011 session of the New Mexico State Legislature include:
The following proposals were made during the 2009-2010 session of the New Mexico Legislature:
Some of the notable features of New Mexico's campaign finance laws:
- Groups in support or opposition of a ballot question are treated the same as other political committees.
- New Mexico requires electronic reporting for all campaign finance reports.
- Mew Mexico requires a group to disclose the name for who paid for get out the vote phone calls if a group plans to make 500 or more calls.
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- Amending the New Mexico Constitution
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- New Mexico signature requirements
- Campaign finance requirements for New Mexico ballot measures