This is a lightly edited version of a mailing sent on Oct. 20.
Dear Adelante members in Congressional District 1 and Bernalillo County,
Handing over the helm
As of Oct. 21, Jeremy Sment will be the new chair of CD1. I hope you will give him all the support you gave me.
I have enjoyed working with you, and look forward to seeing the caucus develop further.
I would like to thank those of you who have volunteered in CD1:
Gina Naomi Dennis
Margarita Mercure Hibbs
In two and half weeks will be the culmination of a critical election for our state and nation. I encourage all of you to keep up the teamwork and commitment to elect those who support our platform and its principles.
Oct. 13 meeting
A week ago, we had a very informative meeting about election reform and security, with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and Maria Perez from Fair Vote. Here are some notes from the talks.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver
Maggie talked about a couple of her priorities for the future, which are same-day voter registration and ballot delivery to homes. To accomplish these, legislation would be needed, and Maggie said she would love to have the support of the caucus to help bring these about. Colorado has ballot delivery, and it has the highest voting participation rate in the nation. But rural areas are a concern.
Some precincts will be divided early in 2019. This work is done by county ordinance. Anyone interested in this should work with their local county commissioner.
About election security, Maggie said, “We’ve been way ahead of the curve.” Besides the state having paper ballots, automatic recounts and audits, it also has a great IT team and a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. Even “white hat hackers” have been brought in to test the state’s election security. Congress has given the state almost $4 million dollars. She works with the county clerks to help them ensure good security. There are backup, redundancies and disaster plans.
Maria spoke mainly about ranked-choice voting, or RCV, also known as instant-runoff voting. This type of voting does away with needing run-off elections, wasted votes and the need for strategic voting.
She also gave us information showing candidates of color winning more elections with RCV. And Santa Fe had 10 percent greater voter turnout with this method. Maria was instrumental in helping Santa Fe get this (RCV) recently.
Maria said Albuquerque is looking into RCV for city elections. The clerk was expected to make a recommendation to the city council privately during the week of Oct. 15. The city could save $500,000 with this method, by having only one election.
Maria encouraged us to contact Mayor Tim Keller and our city council members to support ranked-choice voting.
There is no cost concern, because all voting machines in the state are capable of handling RCV.
There is momentum in the state and nationally for more jurisdictions to start using ranked-choice voting.
Maria also spoke about other potential voting reforms. For example, New Mexico is one of only nine states that have completely closed primaries.
Good night and good luck.