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Open voting in primary elections is the latest idea tossed into the policy conversation by Think New Mexico, the Santa Fe-based nonpartisan, liberal think tank.
Open voting would mean registered independents, or “decline to state,” as we call it, could vote in primary elections. A majority of states allow this, Steve Terrell of The New Mexican wrote April 28 in his blog.
Inclusion is the big reason for bringing independents into the primary election process. Besides, better candidates might emerge.
A candidate with broad appeal to the electorate might not be strong enough to win a primary, tilted as they are to the right and left. Democrats embraced the idea. The Republicans, always worried that someone could disrupt the tight cabal, whined that someone might game the system, which is true, but massively irrelevant.
A well-stated general rationale comes from Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, a Democrat from Albuquerque elected in 2012. “Voting is what legitimizes everything that government does,” Ivey-Soto said as we closed our conversation in his cluttered one-man office.
Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico notes that allowing independents to vote in primaries is called “semi-open,” while having every registered voter pick a primary (Democrats vote in the Republican primary, etc.) is “open.”
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