Lawmakers push for open primaries

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – State law says voters need to have an assigned political party if they want to vote in a primary election.

That’s kept nearly a quarter of a million independent voters away from the polls here in New Mexico, but that could be changing.

On Thursday, some state legislators were at UNM campus talking about a plan to change that.

They’re calling for a bill to open party primaries to independents. New Mexico Sen. Bill O’Neill was there.

He says those independent voters need more say in the election process.

“We have to acknowledge that this is 20 percent of our registers electric,” said O’Neill. “They’re unaffiliated. As a partisan, as a Democrat we need to respect a person’s choice not to declare a partisan affiliation.”

One New Mexico independent voter filed a lawsuit against the state back in June.

David Crum of Albuquerque thinks independents should be able to pick a party and vote in the primary on the day of the election.

Crum’s attorney says he hopes to get the issue in front of the state’s Supreme Court and feels independents can definitely make it to the primaries set for June of 2016.

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