MAGA legislators’ stall tactics couldn’t stop NM Voting Rights Act


New Mexico’s 2023 legislative session brought landmark reforms to expand voting rights in our state. It also highlighted just how far MAGA Republican legislators are willing to go in attempts to block the democratic process and waste precious time to address New Mexico’s needs. MAGA legislators’ stall tactics couldn’t stop NM Voting Rights Act.

It’s no secret that Republicans, especially election-denying far right extremists, performed terribly in our 2022 elections. New Mexico voters united to reject the rhetoric of extremists who now have very little power in our legislature to move their hateful agenda. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop far right Republican legislators from numerous wasteful and cowardly tactics that damage our democracy and silence the voices of New Mexicans.

Throughout committee hearings and floor debates on important legislation, we saw MAGA legislators employ stall tactics, false claims about elections and healthcare, and unrealistic hypothetical scenarios to support their imaginary claims. These legislators knew they didn’t have the votes to block several bills, so they sought to use cheap tactics to limit the legislature’s time while ignoring the wishes of New Mexico voters.

The reality is that the NM GOP has continued to lose support for a long time. Making elections accessible to more eligible voters means they will continue to lose support until they do the real work to connect with New Mexico voters and their values.

Perhaps the worst example of this was Representative John Block, an openly gay man who panders to MAGA Republicans who normally call people like him “groomers”. Besides running the Pinon Post, his far right blog that is a potential conflict of interest, Block was clearly chosen to be the mouthpiece for MAGA Republicans to spew hate and false information. Multiple times, Representative Block asked dozens of questions challenging legislation, all made in bad faith, taking valuable time from other legislators to discuss bills. The majority of his questions about election administration and healthcare have answers that are easily accessible to any New Mexican who is willing to do research. Rep. Block instead chose to have other legislators babysit him and entertain his childish questions. He was completely out of his league challenging our Secretary of State over election administration, and he was shameless in his transparent attempts to block democracy.

Other examples of these tactics include legislators like Representative Nibert, who took extensive time asking questions suggesting HB4, the NM Voting Rights Act, would make it easier for non-citizens to vote. Through the course of his questions he actually embarrassed himself as the NM Secretary of State helped him highlight how Secure Automatic Voter Registration, a major provision in HB4, is actually the most secure way to register voters and safeguard against non-citizens registering. While it’s shameful for legislators to make baseless claims about bills, it’s somewhat refreshing to see that in this case, Rep. Nibert’s ignorance actually worked to serve New Mexico voters, even if he wasn’t competent enough to realize it.

Another example of disgusting far right tactics was Senator Bill Sharer’s attempt to amend HB4 to eliminate almost all of the bill’s reforms. His amendment sought to keep only the Native American Voting Rights Act which was part of HB4. This was done without any consultation with tribal leaders or members and was clearly a disingenuous attempt to divide democracy advocates and kill the bill’s other reforms. Fortunately, tribal leaders and advocates saw right through this and wholeheartedly rejected his amendment and cheap attempts to use Native voting rights to support his anti-democracy politics.

These extremist legislators were scrambling to subvert our legislative process because they’re so disconnected from everyday New Mexico values. From Senator Moores insulting the numerous grassroots organizations and New Mexicans who supported HB4, to Senator Doctor Schmedes continuously thinking he speaks as an expert in every field, these legislators showed themselves for the anti-democracy and anti-New Mexico politicians they are.

MAGA legislators' stall tactics couldn't stop NM Voting Rights Act Csae in point: Senator Doctor Schmedes.

The reality is that the NM GOP has continued to lose support for a long time. Making elections accessible to more eligible voters means they will continue to lose support until they do the real work to connect with New Mexico voters and their values. At this point, the only tactics MAGA Republicans can resort to are suppressing votes and wasting time.

The good news is that these legislators utterly failed in their attempts to halt progress. New Mexicans can be proud of our landmark legislation increasing and protecting access to voting and healthcare. The NM Voting Rights Act is the first legislation in the nation to codify Native voting rights and as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham stated when signing HB4 into law, “this is a template for the rest of the nation.”

Pam and Jim from the tv show The Office giving each other an air high five from their desks.
Simulated footage of NM grassroots organizations celebrating HB4 intact passage through #nmleg. h/t to GOP Sen. Mark Moores

While there’s no doubt MAGA legislators will continue to disrespect voters with stall tactics and false claims, their cheap playbook is clear and voters see it for what it is. New Mexico is committed to a better future for our democracy and MAGA extremism is not part of our values.


check out recent posts