New Mexico Dates for School Elections, Amendment 1 (2014)
The New Mexico Dates for School Elections, Amendment 1 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in New Mexico as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would remove the mandate that school elections be held on different dates than any other elections. However, the amendment would replace the mandate with a less restrictive one. School elections would need to be held on different dates than partisan elections. Therefore, the measure would allow school elections to happen on the same dates as other nonpartisan elections, such as municipal elections, bond elections, conservancy district elections and other special district elections.
In 2008, New Mexicans voted on Amendment 4, which was virtually the same as this year's Amendment 1. While Amendment 4 received 73.6 percent of the vote, the amendment required a three-fourths majority to pass. According to Section 3 of Article VII of the New Mexico Constitution, Section 1 and Section 3 of the article cannot be amended without "at least three-fourths of the electors voting in the whole state, and at least two-thirds of those voting in each county of the state." Therefore, Amendment 1, which would amend Section 1 of Article VII, requires a three-fourths vote across the state, and at least a two-thirds vote in each county, in order to pass.
Text of measure
The official ballot text reads as follows:
|“||1. A Joint Resolution proposing to amend Article 7, Section 1 of the Constitution of New Mexico to provide that school elections shall be held at different times from partisan elections.
- See also: Article VII, New Mexico Constitution
A. Every citizen of the United States who is over the age of twenty-one years and has resided in New Mexico twelve months, in the county ninety days, and in the precinct in which
B. The legislature shall have the power to require the registration of the qualified electors as a requisite for voting and shall regulate the manner, time and places of voting. The legislature shall enact such laws as will secure the secrecy of the ballot and the purity of elections and guard against the abuse of elective franchise. Not more than two members of the board of registration and not more than two judges of election shall belong to the same political party at the time of their appointment.
The issue of women's suffrage was a prominent controversy in the crafting of the New Mexico Constitution. The constitution's drafters decided to take a limited step towards women's suffrage by granting women the right to vote in school elections. These elections were separated from all other elections so that women could not vote in non-school elections. In 1920, Article XIX of the United States Constitution was ratified, thus granting women the right to vote in all elections nationwide. However, the constitutional provision mandating the separation of school election dates from other elections remained. Since Section 3 of Article VII of the New Mexico Constitution makes this difficult to change, the school election date mandate is still in place at least until the November 2014 election.
The New Mexico Legislative Council Service provided arguments for and against the constitutional amendment. The following are the council's arguments in support:
|“||1. Separate school elections no longer necessary.
The reason for the prohibition against holding school elections in conjunction with other elections no longer exists. Women have had the right to vote in all public elections in New Mexico since 1920.
2. May increase voter participation.
3. May lower costs for school districts.
—New Mexico Legislative Council Service
The New Mexico Legislative Council Service provided arguments for and against the constitutional amendment. The following are the council's arguments against:
|“||1. Does not allow school elections during regular November general elections; may be unfairly combined with other elections.
The proposed amendment is too limited. It continues the prohibition against holding school elections in conjunction with partisan elections; however, the regular November general elections are always partisan elections. Therefore:
2. Diluted focus.
3. Diluted impact of knowledgeable voters.
4. Ballots too long and confusing.
—New Mexico Legislative Council Service
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the New Mexico Constitution
According to Article XIX of the New Mexico Constitution, a simple majority was required in the legislature to refer the amendment to the ballot. HJR 2 was approved in the New Mexico House on February 14, 2014. The amendment was approved in the New Mexico Senate on March 16, 2014.
February 14, 2014 House vote
|New Mexico HJR 2 House Vote|
March 16, 2014 Senate vote
|New Mexico HJR 2 Senate Vote|
- New Mexico Legislative Council Service, "Summary of and Arguments For and Against the Constitutional Amendments Proposed by the Legislature in 2013 and 2014," accessed September 11, 2014
- New Mexico Legislature, "Status of HJR 2: School Election Timing, CA," accessed April 3, 2014
- Ruidoso News, "Five state constitutional amendments to consider in November," August 12, 2014
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "Constitutional Amendments," accessed April 3, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- New Mexico Legislature, "HJR 2 Final House Passage," accessed April 3, 2014
- New Mexico Legislature, "HJR 2 Final Senate Passage," accessed April 3, 2014
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