Associated Press: Susana Martinez opposes measures turning out more young voters in November

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More than 25,000 New Mexicans have lent their names to proposals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to give residents a vote on reduced marijuana penalties this November.

On Monday, Santa Fe certified the campaign’s petitions calling for an election and Albuquerque’s city council passed a proposal to ask voters if the city should reduce penalties for possession of marijuana under 1 ounce.  While Santa Fe is moving fast towards an election, Albuquerque’s Republican Mayor RJ Berry has signaled that he’s prepare to veto the Albuquerque election resolution.

Susana Martinez

Tuesday, Governor Martinez cited the likely increase of young voters at the polls in November when she defended her opposition to the measures.  From the AP:

Martinez says she opposes marijuana law changes

Posted: Aug 19, 2014 3:00 PM MDTUpdated: Aug 19, 2014 3:00 PM MDT

BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she opposes efforts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to reduce marijuana possession penalties.

Martinez said at an event in Bernalillo that marijuana possession in illegal under federal law and she believes that’s the way it should remain. She called current penalties appropriate.

The Santa Fe city clerk said Monday that petitioners seeking to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana garnered enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

And Albuquerque city councilors voted Monday to ask voters whether they supported reduced penalties, although Mayor Richard Berry could veto the measure.

Martinez called the efforts political moves to get young voters to the polls. She said any changes should come from the Legislature so the laws would be consistent statewide.

Political analysts have suggested that a recent Rasmussen poll showing Martinez tied with Democrat Gary King 43-43% offered a scenario for King to win if the sampled universe in the poll matched the voting turnout in November:  From NM Telegram:

Republicans quickly took to Twitter to denounce the poll, alleging the numbers are incorrect and the sample was not accurate. They alleged that the poll undersampled Republicans and older voters and oversampled Democrats and younger voters.

That poll scares Republicans because it shows that the more young people who vote this year, the fewer Republicans can win.

Our take
Voter turnout in New Mexico is abysmally low.  Just 56% of registered voters turned out in the last gubernatorial election in 2010.

Fewer than 1-in-4 young voters say they have plan to vote in elections this November, according to new poll from Harvard University.  Keeping that electorate at home is key to Republican wins this year as youth overwhelmingly vote Democratic at the polls.

Turning out voters shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  Politicians are supposed to be in the business of democracy and in our democracy, we settle our debates at the ballot box.  Rigging the electorate is tantamount to rigging an election.



Governor Martinez and City Hall are organizing against us.  

We’re a year-round campaign for progressive causes and we take on the fights no one else will. That’s why Governor Martinez doesn’t like our work – and why you should.  

Moving these measures forward takes smart organizing and the resources to win.  We have the first – can you help with the second?

Please chip in so we can fight back now.