New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) has reinstated the single-punch, straight-party voting option for the general election. The state stopped using the single-punch option after the 2012 general election, during which 41% of all votes cast were single-punch, straight-party votes. At the time, then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran (R) said state law did not specifically authorize a single-punch option.
In 2001, the New Mexico legislature repealed the section of the state’s election code that required ballots to have a single-punch, straight-party option. However, another section of the code, still in effect today, provides that ballots shall be “in the form prescribed by the Secretary of State.” The option remained on the ballot for six election cycles even after it was repealed.
The Republican and Libertarian Parties are expected to take legal action to prevent the option from appearing on the ballot.
In the 2012 general election, 41% of New Mexican voters used the single-punch, straight-party option, which ranked fifth nationally behind Texas (61%), Alabama (51%), Michigan (48%) and South Carolina (47%).
Just 10 states still use single-punch, straight-party voting options. In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed a bill repealing the option beginning with the 2020 general election. Michigan also recently repealed its single-punch, straight-party option, but a federal court issued a permanent injunction against implementing the new law, determining that it “intentionally discriminated against African-Americans.” That decision has been appealed. Earlier this week, the same federal judge rejected an emergency motion to stay that injunction pending appeal.
Nine other states have repealed or discontinued using a single-punch option since 1994.
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