Opinion | THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE. Sixty Legislative Seats to be decided in Primary

May 21, 2024


Ramona Goolsby


Early voting in New Mexico’s primaries has commenced, with an air of predictability about voter turnout. Often humorously dubbed the ‘Land of Mañana’ during elections, the state shows a tepid interest in voting, unless it’s a presidential election year. Even then, despite high hopes for national changes to spur local improvement, recent trends paint a grim picture of the state’s affairs.

According to recent articles in the Forbes Advisor and US News and World Report, New Mexican’s don’t have much to be ‘enchanted’ about. New Mexico was ranked as the most dangerous state in the country due to crime. It also ranked #49 in the nation, just ahead of Louisiana, based on a scoring matrix that included factors such as crime, education, business environment etc.

A person might think this would inspire people to make a change, but it hasn’t so far. New Mexico has been under democrat control for essentially the last 90 years. It is explained that New Mexican’s ‘traditionally vote Democrat’ because their families ‘have always voted Democrat’. However, there must be more to New Mexico’s continued downward spiral than ‘we have always done it this way’.

There are parts of the state with Republican control in their county government and in the legislature. However, since they are the minority and have been for most of the past 90 years, they have become accustomed to losing and almost take pride in being #2.

When you attend hearings or floor debates in Santa Fe, you may hear a few spirited arguments from some GOP representatives, but you may also see them ‘strategically’ skipping hearings as a group or submitting amendments like the ‘hide your address from your constituents’ amendment in SB 180, proposed by a member of the GOP. Apparently, accountability doesn’t serve either side well.

What if New Mexicans had a real choice in November? If people had a real option to get excited about, not just Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian, they might be more inclined to vote. As a voter registrar, I’ve heard people say they are tired of New Mexico politics on both sides as they change their party choice to Independent.
There is still time to get people excited about having a real choice. In New Mexico, 23.6% of registered voters are Independents or, as locals say, ‘DTS’ (decline to state) according to the Secretary of States website. This significant block of voters still has time to help New Mexico by getting involved and running for office during the November General Election.

Don’t let the political elites and controlling parties continue the illusion of choice for New Mexico voters. Find a great independent candidate in your community—it could even be you—and consider running for office. It could be the best thing you ever do for your children or grandchildren.”.

Above is the list of the 60 NM Legislative seats

Written by Ramona Goolsby