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Taking a simple approach

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Fixing New Mexico school elections the right way

By Merilee Dannemann

During the recent weather crisis, when schools were shut to save energy, several school districts were stuck going ahead with school board and bond elections. The voter turnout was as low as you guessed it would be.
It’s past time to change the way we run school elections in New Mexico. If we think systematically, perhaps we can solve several problems at once, increase voter participation, and save taxpayer money.  
The state Constitution (Article 7, Section 1) requires that “All school elections shall be held at different times from other elections.” To change this antiquated provision, we need a resolution passed by the Legislature and approved by the voters.
Measures are in the Legislature this year. The simplest proposal is in both House and Senate Joint Resolutions 16, proposing to remove the problematic sentence from the Constitution, leaving us free to figure out what to do next.
Two alternatives, HJR 11 and HB 450, propose to hold school elections by mail or to add them to the general election ballot. To both these measures, may I respectfully say no.      
Do you remember how long the general election ballot was last year? Let’s not add anything else to general elections, please!


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