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New Mexico Reinstates Straight-Party Voting Just in Time to Thwart Gary Johnson

Democratic secretary of state in heavily Democratic state unilaterally changes voting rule in a way that favors Democrats (and punishes Libertarians). Republicans say they’ll sue.

||| Roberto E. Rosales/ZUMA Press/NewscomRoberto E. Rosales/ZUMA Press/NewscomIn a sudden move with suspicious timing, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, an elected Democrat, announced today that voters in November will once again be able to vote for every candidate of a political party on the ballot by filling in just one blank. The option, known as the "straight-party" device, gives obvious advantage to parties with high voter-registration totals, while erecting roadblocks to otherwise over-performing candidates from third parties.

Like, say, Libertarian Senate candidate Gary Johnson.

As of July 31, 45.9 percent of eligible New Mexico voters were registered Democrats, compared to 30.5 percent Republican, 0.7 Libertarian, and a combined 1.0 percent other (21.9 percent were unaffiliated). Johnson, in the only three-way poll conducted since he officially announced, was at 21 percent, compared to incumbent Democratic Martin Heinrich's 39 percent and Republican nominee Mick Rich's 11.

Oliver, who made the changes reportedly without so much as a single public hearing on the issue, cast her narrow-casting decision as matter of expanding choice.

"The more options people have, the easier it is for more eligible voters to participate—and participation is the key to our democratic process," she said in her statement. "As Secretary of State, I am committed to making it easier—not harder—for New Mexicans to vote….From moms juggling work and kids to elderly veterans who find it hard to stand for long, straight-party voting provides an option for voters that allows their voices to be heard while cutting in half the time it takes them to cast their ballot."

Johnson's reaction was withering.

"Suggesting that New Mexico voters don't want to take the time to actually indicate their preferences for each office is ridiculous," he wrote in an email. "Pushing voters toward straight ticket voting is a worn-out staple of major party incumbents, and flies in the face of the reality that the great majority of voters are independent-minded and don't need or appreciate a ballot that provides a short-cut to partisanship."

The Republican Party of New Mexico, meanwhile, has announced its intentions to sue, according to the Associated Press.* (The Libertarian Party has joined; see update below.) And at least one Democrat, state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, complained in response that the practice gives "partisan advantage in low-information elections," according to The Albuquerque Journal.

The decision did not come totally out of the blue: Toulouse Oliver, an elected official seeking re-election this November, has campaigned on reinstating straight-party voting, which the state had eliminated in 2012.

Richard Winger provided further context for the decision over at Ballot Access News:

States have repealed straight ticket devices in the past fifty years are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas (effective 2019), and Wisconsin. Michigan repealed its device in 2016, but a U.S. District Court recently struck down the Michigan repeal.

Besides Michigan and New Mexico, the only states that still have straight-ticket devices are Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah.

It is hard to read straight-ticket voting as anything but representatives from the two major parties blunting third-party competition and cementing their own incumbency, regardless of voters' growing disaffection with party membership and loyalty over time.

* UPDATE:

Photo Credit: Roberto E. Rosales/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • AustinRoth||

    Every vote counts, said the Democrats in the past. But what they meant was "every Democratic vote counts, and suppressing non-Democratic votes is increasing choice".

    Orwell would be impressed.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    How could enabling citizens to choose or reject a straight-ticket vote diminish choice or suppress non-Democratic votes?

  • JFree||

    Because you twit - it creates an in-group (who can vote without thinking) and an out-group (that has to actually look at the ballot). And once you have elections with different rules for different voters, then you've already crossed the line of treating all voters the same.

    No surprise you don't see that cuz you're just a partisan hack

  • Happy Chandler||

    There's the same rules for every voter. Every voter can choose straight ticket, or they can vote individual races. There's no separate rules.

    Well informed voters can vote straight ticket, as well. Hell, I bet you could vote straight ticket Libertarian or Constitution party as well!

  • JFree||

    Another blind partisan hack

  • Juice||

    I'm curious as to what happens when a particular political party doesn't have candidates in every race on the ballot. If you vote straight party, are you not voting in certain races?

  • Nardz||

    No.
    The first race that doesn't include the party you voted for is automatically registered for the D, thereafter every downballot race is marked as a vote for the D since you've chosen to vote straight ticket.

  • Agammamon||

    Then I guess gay marriage can be dropped too? I mean, gays could have always gotten married - they just would have needed to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    Like everyone else.

    One set of rules for everyone makes the rules ok, right?

  • Fancylad||

    Exactly. It was always legal for gays to marry, just not their own gender.
    Heterosexuals couldn't marry someone their own gender either, so it was true equality.
    Right?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Actually, right, because "not their own gender" was part of the established definition of "marry".

  • Hank Phillips||

    Orwell fought in the Marxist Workers Unification Party militia and was shot through the throat for his troubles back before there was a Libertarian Party. We're WAY better off thanks to Nolan et alii.

  • Conchfritters||

    All pigs are equal? But some pigs are more equal than others?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And based on the title to this article, which party is the straight party?

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    "The more options people have, the easier it is for more eligible voters to participate—and participation is the key to our democratic process,"

    But we aren't about to give voters a say in wether or not we reinstate straight-ticket voting, right? Didnt think so. That woman should be cunt-kicked averytime the word 'Democracy' leaves her lips.

  • aajax||

    Thanks. It's always good to get the misogynist perspective on the issue.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    But children and the elderly. Hell, elderly veterans. Do you hate children an elderly veterans?

  • JFree||

    Not to mention elderly veterans juggling children and work

  • perlchpr||

    And the retards who can only be coached far enough to check just one box.

  • CE||

    Especially if they work as public servants!

  • Agammamon||

    They need to be reported to CPS. I know they're elderly veterans, but that doesn't excuse child juggling.

  • JFree||

    Well at least there are no accusations of dwarf tossing

  • Happy Chandler||

    I don't see the "roadblock" here.
    If anyone wants to, they are free to check the individual boxes. Is there anything stopping them?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    "It helps my team, so it's totes cool."

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    'I figure it will advance the party of backwardness and bigotry, so I'll pick the authoritarian method.'

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Choosing who to vote for is authoritarian? I suppose it would be even less authoritarian if our betters in government could just vote in the name of their respective constituents. It would sure save precious time that our veterans and parents would otherwise have to waste voting.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Comrade Chippah, do you not understand that your only real freedom comes from the chains of socialism that bind us al, together?

  • aajax||

    From the system: "Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English." I thought this was a libertarian site.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Artie, we are well aware of your intention to always pick the authoritarian method. As a self-described "leader" of backwardness and bigotry, we expect no more of you.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Why stop at this? Why not allow full proxy voting, if standing for 45 seconds is too much. Just designate a party voter to vote for you, they will take care of the rest.

  • Horny Lizard||

    We should pay people $10 or so when they vote.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Too difficult, the proxy is default, to vote yourself you show up and vote in person to have the absentee ballot thrown out.

  • Sam Haysom||

    If anyone wants to get married they can marry. It just has to be someone of the opposite sex. Who is being stopped from getting married?

  • JFree||

    The point is 'party line' is not actually an election choice. All elections or votes are for specific offices or referenda or somesuch. 'Party line' is effectively a meta-vote not an actual vote.

    Putting that meta-vote at the top of the ballot is intended to deceive voters. How many voters will think that is actually a question about their current party registration - and with only the major parties listed? Where even if they really only do care about some races at the top of the ballot - which is very very common - a confusion in making that meta-choice will end up registering a vote for a lower race that they never intended to vote for because they don't care about it.

    Mixing up meta-votes with actual votes is the sort of stuff that political parties do to reinforce their own power as 'greater' than any single election. To give one example of how it harms (beyond the voter confusion) - lower ballot races often don't have much interest - or much partisanship. They are the sorts of races where a candidate can often make a good PERSONAL independent case for their candidacy that goes beyond party adherence. But with a meta-party-line driving a major portion of those votes, they will get buried. Which means every candidate for every office thus has to decide to join one of the major parties in order to get that party-line benefit. Once they do that, they just get subsumed into adhering to the party line - and the party itself becomes all-important.

  • Mickey Rat||

    On the one hand, that the Secretary of State would have the unilateral authority to reinstate (or remove) such a voting option two months before the general election seems absurd on its face. On the other hand, how many people who would choose to vote straight ticket would have voted Johnson if they had to go through each race line by line?

    "It is hard to read straight-ticket voting as anything but representatives from the two major parties blunting third-party competition and cementing their own incumbency,..."

    If the GOP intends sue over this, it is hard this as having much to do with the gamesmanship of the "two" major parties

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    I believe at least three 18 year olds will pick 'Johnson' regardless of their party affiliation based on the euphemism factor.

  • Anomalous||

    Heh, heh heh, he said Johnson.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    "Stick your Johnson in the Senate"?

  • Chrisc46||

    Straight party voting gives individuals the option to thoughtlessly submit their vote. It also increases the likelihood that people may not even see that races have more than just two options. It aids an uneducated voting block.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    This 'choice is enslavement and promotes thoughtlessness' theme is curious.

    Would you support mandatory government-conducted education for prospective voters?

  • DivideByZero||

    Would you support mandatory government-conducted education for prospective voters?

    Now there's an interesting idea. How young would we start this hypothetical mandatory government-conducted education program? How about age 5? We could call it "kindergarten." What if we then kept people in this compulsory program year after year until they were 18 ("seniors" in "high school")? You may really be onto something here, Art.

  • DarrenM||

    What matters is the current election. The GOP can use this as a campaign issue. Whether they'll actually waste money suing is another matter.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    From moms juggling work and kids to elderly veterans who find it hard to stand for long, straight-party voting provides an option for voters that allows their voices to be heard while cutting in half the time it takes them to cast their ballot."

    It takes about 30 God damn seconds to choose individual candidates!!!!

  • Get To Da Chippah||

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Bill Watterson is my idol.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    How weighty is a voice that stands in the back, looking up from their phone every now and then to shout "Yeah!" so folks don't think they aren't engaged.

    Government encourages laziness. Just a theory.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Voters in cities often have to wait in long lines to vote. Making it faster to vote reduces these lines.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Removing the vote altogether would reduce these lines immensely. Why aren't you advocating for that option?

  • CE||

    There's a lot to be said for that option. No elections, no elected officials....

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I'm confident that elected officials would be able to set aside enough time to vote themselves into office.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    New Mexico doesn't have cities. Large towns maybe. Try again.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Albuquerque's population is greater than 500K. That counts as a city in my book, and even a large one. Consider that there are only 10 cities in the US with populations over 1M and only 300 cities with populations over 100000. Albuquerque is somewhere in the middle of that distribution.

  • Conchfritters||

    Pretty much - usually less than 25% of registered voters vote in off year elections, so it's not like there's going to be a fucking rush at the polling station.

  • The Last American Hero||

    They should have just waited until the results were in and then find a couple of boxes full of ballots if they don't like the outcome. If they need additional guidance, then send and email to voting precinct captains in Seattle and they can give them a few pointers.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Or, keep suing for recounts (making sure to disqualify as many of your opponents votes as possible) until you win. Then Sue to bar any further recounts.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    "If voting for Gary Johnson worked, they wouldn't let us do it." - Abraham Lincoln

  • Eddy||

    "This country needs another spurious Lincoln quote like I need a hole in the head." - A. Lincoln

  • Hamster of Doom||

    "Internet quotes are almost always bullshit, and I don't know why people don't look that shit up, the internet is right there." - John F. Kennedy

  • Eddy||

    "These fake Internet quotes have too much Lincoln and not enough linkin'." - Confucius

  • sarcasmic||

    Then there was the time Geronimo jumped out of a plane and yelled "Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    The "Geronimo" supposedly goes back to the first training run for the first batch of paratroopers, but it's a misquote due to all the noise from the aircraft engine and the wind rushing by the open aircraft door.

    What he really said was "I don't want to Goooooooooooooooo!" :)

  • DivideByZero||

    "If I read one more unsourced Internet quote, I'm going on a shooting spree." -Mahatma Gandhi

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Volkischer Staat of Texas has had similar rules for a long time. It dawned on me that voting the straight Libertarian ticket and bypassing the looters entirely sent a clear message that this voter rejects coercion, and that has been my policy ever since. It is also a lot less trouble than trying to detect a difference between the kleptocracy factions.

  • Nardz||

    One party has officials that depend on a base who will kick their ass out if he betrays them, and elect another asshole who will betray them before his ass is kicked out for yet another asshole who will betray them. But, the key is: the asshole has to at least pretend not to totally betray them or he risks losing his job. The asshole is thus slightly constrained.
    The other party has a bunch of jackasses who get elected by promising their jackass base that they'll steal even more from the asshole's base and give even more power to the jackasses who have too much power, all the while cheered on by their jackass base.
    The asshole has to try to pretend not to be an asshole because he ran on not being an asshole, while the jackasses ran on being even bigger jackasses, thus are completely unconstrained.

  • JFree||

    Secretary of State and county clerk are two elected positions that Libertarians really should focus on all the time. Unfortunately, there is zero interest by L's in the sort of 'good govt' stuff that those functions perform, virtually no interest in fleshing out the LP platform to address those sorts of issues, and far more interest in just using the corruption/incompetence of those jobs held by D/R's as a general anti-govt bludgeon.

    Shame too because that is one job where Libertarians could draw a ton of independent support to ensure fair open elections and oppose gerrymandering and other functions - without a bunch of irrelevant ideological stuff that the LP always focuses on (but which it will never have a chance to implement - because the fucking elections aren't fairly run).

    Even for those places where county clerk is a non-partisan job, it's the perfect sort of job for local Libertarians to recruit/develop the incumbents as candidates for higher office that is more partisan.

  • Sam Haysom||

    Except those are precisely the kind of jobs that are often won with a pretty face or a sunny demeanor- I'm sure somewhere there is a libertarian with one of those qualities but they are doing an amazing job hiding.

  • JFree||

    That's why L's should be recruiting/screening candidates who are already working in those offices. The lower level younger folks are often less partisan than the elected ones at the top and probably idealistic about what a fair election means and they obviously have relevant experience.

    Does the LP have any ideas about what a good libertarian county clerk or SecyState would and wouldn't do? Until they do - and share them with their state/county affiliates - then they sure won't be finding any or electing any very soon. This is Political Party Organization 101

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Providing freedom to vote straight-ticket seems the libertarian way.

  • Juice||

    A full-on libertarian ballot would have the choice of "none of the above."

  • Eddy||

    Or "straight party" NOTA - just fill in a single bubble and you've voted against *all* the candidates in *every* race!

    What do you think, rev, are you for that, or are you against "moms" and "elderly veterans"?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    What is wrong with 'none of the above' votes? Who is unable to vote for 'none of the above' currently?

  • Eddy||

    Who is unable to vote NOTA? Most or all of the people of the U. S.

    http://marylandreporter.com/20.....ny-voters/

  • Eddy||

    As of 2016 - "Only one state, Nevada, has "none of these candidates" as a non-binding option on the ballot, though a judge recently struck down this 40-year old law. California voters rejected a proposition creating "none of the above" as an election choice in 2000."

  • James Pollock||

    "Who is unable to vote NOTA? Most or all of the people of the U. S."

    Everyone can vote NOTA. It's called "not showing up".

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sounds good for me. I think more states should have explicit "NOTA" options.

  • Jerry B.||

    If I could vote the straight Libertarian ticket, and for any race not featuring a libertarian candidate I got a valid 'none of the above' automatically entered against the other candidates, it might be worthwhile.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    This course seems currently available.

  • James Pollock||

    A good number of voters presently vote for "none of the above" for all races.

    They're called "non-voters". Some of them don't even REGISTER to vote. Take that, oppressive system!

  • Eddy||

    I'm not exactly sure where the New Mexico Secretary of State gets the authority to add stuff to the ballot. If the legislature delegated that responsibility to him, they're a bunch of cowards.

    The legislature could, for *future* elections, allow a straight-party option. I wouldn't object, since there is a bloc of voters who would cheerfully take advantage of that option if offered, and whether we like their choice or not, there's no point pretending they're going to give individual consideration to every race. They'll just vote their team and leave, freeing up more time for voters who take a bit more time designating their choices.

    By the same logic, of course, I'd want the ballot to have lots of non-major-party options such as minor parties and NOTA.

    Come to think of it, I'd support an option of voting "straight party" NOTA. Fill in a single bubble and you're on record against *all* the candidates!

    I can dream.

  • Eddy||

    Straight party NOTA, a craze motherfucker voting for no one
    Because no one can solve the problems of the nation
    No one is trusted, his brain ain't rusted
    No one will restore a system that's mistrusted

  • Eddy||

    Wait, the last line should be

    No one will make optimists of voters who are disgusted

  • CE||

    Your choice is an illusion anyway. Your candidate won't win unless you vote for the winning candidate, in which case your vote wouldn't matter.

  • Qsl||

    New Mexico politics (well, at least back in the day, although I doubt they've improved much) were notoriously corrupt. At the time, the election of Johnson was seen as a middle finger to the political establishment (although he did earn his second term through good governance).

    Straight party voting isn't a huge concern per se, however typically ballots are laid-out months in advance so interested parties have the opportunity to study/criticize them (to the surprise of no one, most ballots aren't exactly an exercise in clarity). Changes on such short notice makes me think shenanigans ("we'll, we couldn't fit your name in, except on the third page... in the margin").

    My cynical side makes me think this was done strictly to deny Johnson name recognition on the ballot, especially with older voters who remember him and may not be acutely aware he is running on the libertarian ticket.

  • Eddy||

    Anyway, according to the Supreme Court it's unconstitutional to vote the straight ticket.

  • Longtobefree||

    What has that got to do with anything?
    We're talking about a democratic Secretary of State here, not some stupid constitution. Please stay on topic.

  • Eddy||

    I was actually making a bad joke, a straight ticket is so constitutional not even the Supreme Court challenged it.

  • Eddy||

    You see, voting straight versus the right to gay marriage, bad joke, etc.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Wait. Yep, the horse is still moving, better beat it again...

  • CE||

    Although the timing is convenient for the Democrats, I don't see anything nefarious here, as long as all registered political parties are also allowed a straight party line vote. No one requires you to use the option.

  • JFree||

    The 'straight party line' option doesn't apply to all parties. Per her press release, it only applies to 'major parties' (which this year in NM is 3) - and the option wouldn't work for the L's because in the major race (Gov), they have to write-in a candidate. So golly - it applies only to D's and R's - wotta fucking surprise.

  • James Pollock||

    "The 'straight party line' option doesn't apply to all parties"

    I'm going to hazard a guess that this is because the "non-major parties" don't have straight-line tickets. If the party you wanted to straight-line vote for doesn't even have candidates on the ballot, for example, the notion of a "straight-party line" is rather meaningless.

  • JFree||

    The party-line ballot is solely intended to make life easier for the parties not for the voters. Any mention of 'voters' is intended solely for the emotional impact which deflects attention from the actual impact. It is no more possible for the DeRps to do something fair/evenhanded for elections than it is for dogs to prove Fermat's conjecture.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Your libertarian plan is to promote your preferred outcome by imposing needless inconvenience on voters?

  • JFree||

    Party-line is NOT an actual vote. It is a meta-vote that is ALWAYS intended solely to:

    a)deceive voters into stuffing elections at lower levels and

    b)force candidates for lower office to choose one of the major parties in order to benefit from that confusion and election stuffing.

    c)enforce party discipline on candidates and force lower-level offices to become more partisan

    No surprise that you endorse that because you are a deceitful elitist hack.

  • James Pollock||

    "The party-line ballot is solely intended to make life easier for the parties not for the voters."

    OK.
    Now show me how it might change the outcome of an election, because I'm having a bit of trouble seeing that.

    Actually suppressing voters, of which there are countless examples from recent times, I can see how that changes the outcome of elections. But this is not that.

    Call me when they replace the ability to vote for each race with "party-line voting" exclusively.

  • JFree||

    Now show me how it might change the outcome of an election, because I'm having a bit of trouble seeing that.

    OK - say this election has races for Gov and Senate at the top of the ballot - and dogcatcher at the bottom of the ballot. Most voters simply will not care much about dogcatcher. They don't view that as a partisan job - or one that fits into their current voter registration - or has anything to do with 'national'/media driven ideas of what the major political parties stand for. If they are not interested in that race - or don't know the candidates - or are short-of-time, they will often just not vote for those lower ballot races. If people don't vote for a given race, that is their WILL. Swamping that election with people who are confused by what the party-line-meta thing means - or just don't care - is an example of rigging that election.

    Dogcatcher is only a partisan race in states with a party-line meta-vote. And it MUST be a partisan race in those states. Because the party-line default will completely flood the vote totals for those down-ballot races. It forces all future potential dogcatchers into choosing the dominant political party in their locale ahead of time. It is the ONLY thing that matters in those elections. Which then means the job itself becomes an internal party matter to CHOOSE that candidate as a way of developing a bench and rewarding party loyalty. Which turns even that job into a spoils system and cronyist type job.

  • JFree||

    Call me when they replace the ability to vote for each race with "party-line voting" exclusively.

    That is EXACTLY what the intention is. The party-line 'meta-vote' goes at the top of the ballot - in order to create the most confusion about what it actually means (is it a question about your voter registration? or your national party preference re say Trump? - what if you are unaffiliated? - does it mean you can't vote )

    And the way it works is that one is by default FORCED to vote in elections people don't care about.

    I live in Denver. In 2016, the Prez race had 332,000 votes (245,000 D - 63,000 R - 15,000 L). Downballot, the Yes/No votes to re-up judges for another term each had 200,000 or so votes. That's 130,000 people who CHOSE not to vote - which is their right and their will - and three dozen or so judges who would in a party-line system have been forced to kowtow to a party-line in order to avoid party opposition to them.

    No party-line system actually informs voters exactly how and to/against whom/what those votes will be counted. It is a hidden vote - from the voter themselves. So no possible audit either.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So basically you're saying people are too stupid to understand what a party-line vote is.

  • JFree||

    It is different in all nine states that still have it. So yeah - there is no fucking way the more ignorant/lazy voter (most likely to use it) is likely to actually understand how it works.

    Further, the SecyState here is enforcing a party-line system that was rescinded by the State legislature in 2001. She is enforcing something that is now illegal. So you can fucking bet that NO ONE actually knows the mechanics/programming of how those meta-boxes on paper ballots are translated into actual-vote tabulations.

  • Dan S.||

    If she had campaigned on her intention to do this before Johnson entered the race, then it is hard to say she did it because of Johnson.

  • Eddy||

    "If she had campaigned on her intention to do this before Johnson entered the race, then it is hard to say she did it because of Johnson."

  • ||

    Matt Welch is usually smarter than this. As long as straight-party voting is optional, not mandatory, what difference does it make? A voter lazy enough to do the straight-party thing would never have considered Gary Johnson anyway.

  • Iheartskeet||

    ^This.

    I don't get what the brohuha is all about. You can easily ignore the straight ticket, and pick who you want. Is there evidence this changes voting patterns ? If it does, I submit its because of error and guesswork, not thoughtful re-consideration of ones choices in the voting booth.

    I say this as someone who would vote GJ if I lived there.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Not so. The existence of the LP was not mentioned in polite society after the Nixon anti-libertarian law. I only discovered it on campus in 1980. Until the collapse of nuclear-tipped communism and addition of the LIB option, I had to hunt-and-peck for LP candidates, then add some republicans. But the the law-changing clout of, say, 5 LP votes was thirty votes for freedom. Adding 6 republicans on the assumption Jesus told them not to surrender to Russia only diluted my total voter clout because those 6 votes led God's Own Prohibitionists to believe I supported undeclared wars, enslaving fertile women, shooting hippies and locking up blacks and latinos. The looter parties are BOTH shrinking and the LP is growing. THAT is the relevant fact.

  • sarcasmic||

    Really? No tasteless jokes about a straight ticket forcing Gary into the closet, so to speak? I'm disappointed.

  • Bob Meyer||

    Possibly the LGBT community can be made to believe that "straight" party line voting is homophobic.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I ate a rice cake once.

    /tasteless joke

  • Eddy||

    Don't worry, I covered that.

  • James Pollock||

    Forgive me, but it's hard for me to get worked up over this.

    The partisans will mark their straight-ticket choices, just like they were going to mark their ballots with their party's choices individually for each race. The swing voters will mark the races individually, just like they were going to before.

    I mean, if the claim is that there are a substantial number of voters who WOULD have voted for third-party candidates but just couldn't be bothered to mark each race individually, I'm not buying in.

    If the claim is that they're going to capture some "voters" who would have skipped voting, but will return a ballot if they only have to mark it once, I see that as more likely... but also not objectionable if the lazy "voters" are eligible to cast a ballot.

  • JFree||

    The effect is that lazy/ignorant voters get their votes counted in races that they wouldn't have otherwise voted in because it would take too much time or they don't want to vote if they are ignorant. And the effect in those races is to swamp the vote total ahead of time - so that there is no actual election on election day because that election will be won by whoever gets the best local party-line ahead of time. Which then means no election campaign is necessary either - so voters will be left even more in the dark.

  • James Pollock||

    "The effect is that lazy/ignorant voters get their votes counted in races that they wouldn't have otherwise voted in because it would take too much time or they don't want to vote if they are ignorant."

    In other words, the EXACT SAME EFFECT you get by delivering a ballot in the first place. They might (gasp!) choose to mark all the races with the same party? To the fainting couch! Egad.

  • Bob Meyer||

    Do you really want to stuff ballot boxes when you have to check 10 separate boxes instead of just one? It vastly improves the efficiency of election theft by requiring fewer ballot forgers not to mention the amount of time saved and the lower likelihood of being caught.

  • Jerryskids||

    "The more options people have, the easier it is for more eligible voters to participate—and participation is the key to our democratic process," she said in her statement.

    There's the federal case right there - the Constitution charges the federal government to guarantee to each state a republican form of government, so what's with this "democracy" bullshit? We don't live in a direct democracy, we operate through the mediation of representatives and if you don't even know who the hell you're voting for it's hardly an informed choice. In fact, I'd say if you vote straight ticket, you favor turning control of the government over to a private entity and whether that's the Republican Party or the Democrat Party it's a bad idea and it's unconstitutional.

  • Longtobefree||

    "I voted". (FL primary)
    I got the cheap ass sticker, but nothing changed. Do I get my vote back?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Democratic secretary of state in heavily Democratic state unilaterally changes voting rule in a way that favors Democrats"

    The Dems will love you any day now if you just keep sucking up to them.

  • Bob Meyer||

    I don't think it really matters since Rich won't get off the ballot and will likely throw his support to the Democrat if Johnson looks like a serious challenge. Joe Lieberman won as an independent but only because he ran on a Democrat platform minus cutting the military and giving support for Israel. He hadn't burned any bridges while Johnson dynamited his.

    At least Rand Paul supports him. Maybe he can even get Amash and Massie but I doubt it.

    My relatives in New Mexico tell me that Johnson has considerable support at the Los Alamos National Lab but Los Alamos doesn't have a lot of people.

  • Eddy||

    They can create a new race of pipple, a race of atomic supermen who will rule the vorld.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    It is scary to think that there may really be a large crowd of people who don't have the time, patience, or powers of concentration to study and mark a ballot, such as will be handed out to NM voters in November. And it is outrageous to think that the NM Democratic Party is catering to and counting on this crowd. How more brazenly, nakedly unfair does it get, than to change the rule book this late in the game?

  • creech||

    The straight ticket vote in Pennsylvania is so the shenanigans when the polls close, when the officials (usually of one party) vote for all those who didn't show up in person. Saves on carpal tunnel problems - each lever pull casts votes for a dozen or more candidates - as well as saving time so more absent voters can cast their ballot.

  • MasterThief||

    I have 2 views on straight ballot voting. First, I do think it's a time saver for all those people who will blindly vote party anyway. Second, and more importantly, is that it encourages laziness and ignorance. People should not be voting if they do not know the names of the candidates and the policy proposals of at least the candidate they vote for. It opens up an easy opportunity for the parties to staff out lower level positions with people that nobody knows about who have goals the electorate is ignorant of.

  • EscherEnigma||

    To your second point, that would support not having any names on a ballot, and requiring folks to write-in the names of their choices for every position.

    Which, y'know, I think would be interesting. But it's not really an argument in favor of the status quo.

  • Brandybuck||

    This is like straight out of 1890. Back when I was a kid my civics teacher used to point to straight ballots the same why he used to point to women not being able to vote. Even the history books used straight ballots as examples of corrupt political machines.

    That a modern "progressive" state is re-instituting it boggles my mind. What's next? Poll taxes?

  • PaulTheBeav||

    I'm sure ANTIFA will go after this actual fascism with all the same vigor they have been going after fake fascism.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Next, "Straight Party for Life". Saves all kinds of time and proves super allegiance. Vote once and forever!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The people who oppose straight-ticket pulls -- which are voluntary, not compulsory, do not interfere with any voter's opportunity to vote for any or no candidate -- remind me of the folks who cruise at a few miles under the speed limit in the passing lane because they see no reason anyone should be driving faster.

    That, or maybe it is the one opportunity in their pathetic lives to control other people.

  • JFree||

    do not interfere with any voter's opportunity to vote for any or no candidate

    The fuck they don't interfere with a voters ability to NOT vote in a particular race. And the people who vote party-line are the ones who also are most inclined not to vote in those particular races (because they are either lazy or ignorant).

    Instead, that unwillingness/laziness to vote in the races they are not concerned about is turned into a positive vote that obliterates the votes of those who actually are willing to vote in those races. The entire playing field of those elections is tilted - for the purposes of eliminating competition to that party at all levels of local elections. The laziest voters are deemed to be (and their votes are counted as) the most active and actively partisan voters.

  • James Pollock||

    "The fuck they don't interfere with a voters ability to NOT vote in a particular race."

    They don't.
    You don't want a vote counted for a particular race, fill out your ballot that way.

  • James Pollock||

    You want to disincentivize party-line voting? Don't print party affiliations on the ballot for any races.

  • JFree||

    I don't care about party affiliations next to someone's name running for office. That is an ACTUAL vote and the affiliation is info additional to their name and the office they are running for.

    A party-line at the top of the ballot is not an actual vote. It is a meta-vote - a general instruction to a computer as to how to tabulate votes. And those meta-votes can conflict with actual votes - and it won't be the voter who is making the judgment call when that happens

  • EscherEnigma||

    So Facebook ads obviously don't sway any votes at all, but having the option for a straight-party ticket is going to confuse and befuddle people into voting differently then they would have otherwise?

    Y'all have weird beliefs.

  • JFree||

    How many people actually voted on Facebook?

    Do you understand the difference between an actual ballot designed/presented by govt v a social media platform that is mostly about people yelling and photos of kids/cats?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Do you understand the entire premise behind a multi-billion dollar industry called "advertising"?
    Do you understand that most people have decided how they're going to vote before they go to the polling place?

    But sure, advertising doesn't work and having an additional option is tyranny.

  • operagost||

    God knows single moms don't have the 10 seconds necessary to fill in a half dozen circles or press a half dozen buttons.

  • Uncle Jay||

    New Mexico is for democrat.
    Republicans and Libertarians need not apply.
    This is for the benefit of the collective and the party.

  • Echospinner||

    Libertarians scare the crap out if republicans and democrats.

    As we should.

    Anyone who voted for the republican or democrat last time should ask themselves where they belong.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Court Injunction till after election, NOW!! That's a bullshit move, Dems.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'll go with that. Changing election stuff close to the election is objectionable regardless of the merits of the change itself in most cases. That said, many of the reactions here are very silly.

  • James Pollock||

    It's always close to an election.

  • John B. Egan||

    Gary Johnson is a freaking idiot. I voted for Harry Browne in Bush Jr's 2nd term.....He was a very intelligent guy.. Gary is an unbelievable dork. Why the Libertarians would even run him is beyond me.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    Dork? Elaborate please!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Translation: Harry's straddling encouraged the violation of individual rights of women. But when Gary quit appeasing Warriors for the Babies and actually came out in favor of women having choices, his vote share tripled! Gary is therefore an idiot to Republican prohibitionists.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    This makes sense. Checking more than one box is really hard, so I can see why proponents would favor this.

  • BruceMajors||

    Here's the twitter of Maggoty Maggie Oliver, the NM Secretary of State trying to prevent people from voting Libertarian twitter.com/ NMSecOfState/status/1034864243416285184

    She is tweeting constantly in defense of her decision

  • aajax||

    Should be no biggie. If people don't need it or want it, they won't use it. On the other hand, any half-way sophisticated software has a way to "check all" in a list, and then override the check for individual line items. If they really wanted to make things easy, they would provide that feature as well.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    I was raised to never encourage laziness, unless I'm voting in NM.

  • ||

    New Mexico is one of the most corrupt states in the Union....has been for decades...

  • aajax||

    Is it that marijuana really is a gateway drug? A gateway for the DEA to expand their power and make it easier to go after other drugs?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Straight-ticket voting in national elections is a blessing to the LP (if on the ballot) even if looters misapprehend the truth as usual. In local elections after 1972, much coercion has been expended in excluding mention of the LP and dressing up municipal and county elections as popularity contests. A straight-ticket Libertarian vote has to weigh in with much more than the usual 600% of law changing clout on account of its unequivocal directness. If straight ticket voting were prejudicial to the success of libertarian candidates, municipal and county election boards dominated by promoters of transfer payments from producers to non-producers would absolutely insist on them as they did before 1972. Before condemning Maggie Oliver, why not look into how much math she knows?

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