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Considering amendments and bonds is direct vote on issues

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By Jay Miller

This year, New Mexicans have the opportunity to vote on five constitutional amendments and four bond issues in addition to all the state and local candidates on the ballot.
You may feel it a bother to read the small print on the reverse side of the ballot but this is the one part of state government in which citizens actually get a direct vote on issues facing the state.
The rest of the ballot is just voting on the people who will make all the decisions for us.
Several states have a referendum process in which groups can collect petition signatures to get items on the ballot.
Arizona and California are two of those states. Their ballots involve multiple pages of questions accompanied by instruction booklets.
•Amendment #1 allows the state to create a scholarship program for veterans of conflicts since 1990. Such a program currently exists for Vietnam Veterans. Why were veterans of conflicts between 1975 and 1990 left out? It’s ripe for litigation.
•Amendment #2 allows elected county officials 12 years in office instead of eight. It’s an argument of whether experience or new ideas are better. Incumbents can be voted out but history tells us they have an advantage.


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