Strengthen Democracy

Strengthen Democracy

More than any time in living memory, the foundation of our democracy is under attack. Republican legislators at the state and federal level, modeling themselves after a corrupt, autocratic-leaning former president, are using his “big lie” as an excuse to curtail voting rights and block the wishes of the vast majority of Americans. Protecting democracy is our group’s number-one priority.

To that end, we support ending or modifying the filibuster in the US Senate and in the New Mexico Senate, passing legislation to better protect the right to vote in federal and state elections, and revising the Electoral Count Act to make sure the certification of electoral votes cannot be stopped on the whim of the vice president.

In New Mexico, democracy could also be strengthened by creating a legislature that is more diverse and has the time and resources to evaluate legislation independently. We will focus our efforts on modernizing the New Mexico legislature.

Modernize the New Mexico Legislature

The New Mexico legislature is the only remaining State legislature in the US whose legislators are unsalaried. Many New Mexicans cannot afford to serve as unpaid legislators which results in a legislature primarily composed of wealthy or retired individuals who do not necessarily reflect New Mexico’s diverse population. New Mexico’s legislative sessions of 30 and 60 days in alternating years are among the shortest in the US. As a result, debates are cut short and priority legislation stalls because time runs out. Our representatives need more time to write, debate, and pass laws. They need paid staff all year and office space in their districts to house that staff in order to serve their constituents effectively without relying on lobbyists paid by businesses or other special interests. In the 2022 legislative session, $100,000 was appropriated for the University of New Mexico’s bureau of business and economic research to conduct surveys of legislative staff and legislators to determine their needs and the time they devote to legislative duties when the legislature is not in session. The bureau will also study the costs and benefits of legislator compensation, the length of legislative sessions, and the number of staff needed to support legislators. The bureau’s report is expected to be issued this fall.

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Take Action

Support Rewriting Electoral Count Act

A bipartisan group of US senators has proposed new legislation to modernize the Electoral Count Act to avoid interference with Congress’s certification of presidential election results so that the peaceful transition from one president to the next is assured. This legislation would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge a State’s electoral votes. It would also make clear that the vice president has no discretion with respect to certifying presidential election results. In addition, the law would increase penalties for threats and intimidation of election officials, improve the Postal Service’s handling of mail-in ballots, and renew for five years an independent federal agency that helps States administer federal elections securely.

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Take Action

Send a letter or postcard or call your representative and New Mexico Senators urging them to vote in favor of the revised Electoral Count Act.