With early voting underway and the state’s primaries set for June 7, many electors are pondering how they can participate if they are not registered with one of the three major political parties in New Mexico. In April, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced that unaffiliated voters can update their voter registration to one of the three major political parties the same day voting takes place to participate in the primaries. Electors can reverse the change immediately after casting their vote at the county clerk’s office or through the state’s voter registration portal.
On May 31, a question was asked on NextDoor to see if far northeast Albuquerque residents had any thoughts on the issue. The question asks, “What are your thoughts on allowing voters not affiliated with any major political party to update their voter registration to a major party on the same day as voting in the state’s primary elections? Should New Mexico have open or closed primaries?”
Of the 35 neighbors the question was asked to, one provided a response. Melissa R. of Heritage East replied, “I actually asked my husband something similar a couple of weeks back, ‘Why do those who are party affiliated get to narrow the field before I have a chance to vote?’ We are not party affiliated only because there is not party, at present, which represents us.”
According to Ballotpedia, New Mexico is one of 14 states with closed primaries. In 21 states, at least one political party has open primaries for congressional and state-level offices. Fifteen states have semi-closed primaries, three states have a top-two primary system, and Alaska has a top-four primary for state executive, state legislative and congressional elections. Alaska also allows ranked-choice voting for state, congressional and presidential offices.