The New Mexico Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition to conduct the June 2 primary election solely by mail, quickly drawing praise from Republicans and condemnation from Democrats who say the ruling will put poll workers and voters at risk.
Chief Justice Judith Nakamura acknowledged the state is in the midst of a public health crisis and that voting by mail is the safest option. But justices nonetheless ruled unanimously that state law does not allow ballots to be sent automatically to voters eligible to participate in the primary.
Justices in effect acknowledged that allowing an election by mail would require lawmakers to change state law — something parties who petitioned the court to rule on the matter had argued is impossible during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic because it would put lawmakers at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 in a hypothetical special session.
Instead, justices have ordered the Secretary of State’s Office or county clerks to send an application for an absentee ballot to every registered primary voter in the state.
Via Howard Bashman, who also includes a link to the video of the ruling from the bench.