матрациThe General Election ballot includes a proposed amendment to the New Mexico Constitution to change the definition of qualified electors. Constitutional Amendment #3 was well intentioned in that it sought to clarify that certain disabled people, felons, and adults of a certain age could be qualified electors. However, because of the wording it could have negative consequences for acequias because of our qualifications for voting.
Under current state law, a person has to be a property owner on the ditch to be qualified to vote in an acequia election. The proposed amendment would say that qualified electors would be eligible to vote in all elections. The attached voter guide by the Legislative Counsel Service mentions that this language would “presumably prohibit voter eligibility restrictions based upon property ownership or other restrictions currently in effect for some special district elections.” This would be a problem for acequias, irrigation districts, and other types of special districts.
In reading the voter guide, the LCS also mentions that because the title does not fully reflect the content of the amendments, it could invite a legal challenge if it was passed by the voters of New Mexico.
The New Mexico Acequia Association recommends voting NO on Constitutional Amendment #3.
Note: The NMAA is a tax-exempt, 501c3 non-profit organization and is prohibited from making any candidate endorsements. However, we are allowed to engage in policy advocacy and advocate for legislation. Constitutional amendments are a form of legislation.