Good Government Reforms
The state of government in New Mexico
Every day, New Mexicans pay a heavy price for the overwhelming influence of money in politics. Our elected representatives are increasingly attentive to a small set of well-funded influencers and outside groups, while neglecting the most pressing issues of education and job creation. The effort in New Mexico seeks to build momentum to increase transparency, accountability and participation.
Our Focus Areas
We seek to identify the root causes of New Mexico’s most challenging problems and work to advance non-partisan, evidence-based solutions.
Everyone Deserves to Know
Lobbyists spent a record $700,000 during the 2017 legislative session and $200,000 during the 2018 30-day session yet the public and the media still don’t have access to information about who pays them and what issues and bills they were trying to influence. Solutions include requiring lobbyists to report who pays them, what bills they work on and ensure that the limited information lobbyists currently report is available to the public.
Independent political groups dramatically increased their fundraising and spending between 2006 and 2016 from $6 million to nearly $16 million (Open Secrets). Although these entities are required to report their activities, the Secretary of State has not yet rolled out a user-friendly system capable of sharing this information with the public.
Everyone is Held Accountable
Until 2019, New Mexico was one of only seven states without an ethics commission. The independent state agency aims to promote the integrity of state government through the interpretation, enforcement, and improvement of New Mexico’s campaign finance, lobbying, procurement, and governmental conduct laws. Watchdog groups must follow this new agency, ensuring it meets these goals and in ways that are understandable and useful to the general public.
Everyone Can Participate
Everyone Has A Voice
Ranked choice voting (RCV), also known as “instant run-off,” is an election system designed to select a victor supported by a true majority of voters. Instead of picking just one candidate, voters may rank all contenders. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, she or he is declared the winner. If not, the lowest ranked candidate is eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices on those ballots. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. In municipal or other elections that require over 50% support to declare a winner, RCV can save hundreds of thousands of tax dollars by preventing the need for run-off elections. Additionally, the RCV approach often contributes to more positive and issue-oriented campaigns. In New Mexico, municipal elections in Santa Fe and Las Cruces deploy RCV. Opportunities exist to expand RCV to additional communities throughout New Mexico.
Every 10 years each state is required to redraw its voting districts to reflect shifts in population. The districts (for congressional, legislative, and selected commission seats) are currently drawn by state legislators. This system essentially allows lawmakers to choose their voters. When the lines are drawn to favor one party or elected official, the practice is called “gerrymandering” and it undermines citizen trust in government. New voting districts will be drawn in 2021 using 2020 census data. It is critical that the rules governing redistricting allow for public input and advance fair principles.