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 V.19 No.43 | October 28 - November 3, 2010 
Alibi’s Online Election Guide

Feature

Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional Amendment 1

What it says: As it is, New Mexico's constitution only allows the state to offer scholarships to Vietnam veterans. Amendment 1 would let the state create a college scholarship program for veterans of wars that happened after 1990. Once the vets use their military benefits, New Mexico would kick in extra cash so all of their tuition is covered in full.

What we think: We've got a lot of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan who deserve to go to college in New Mexico for free. This will help returning soldiers find jobs and earn decent wages. The Alibi urges you to vote in favor of this amendment.

Constitutional Amendment 2

What it says: This would allow county officials to serve three consecutive terms instead of two.

What we think: Fresh faces and ideas add energy to a group. Though there's an argument to be made that few qualified people are available in smaller counties, the solution isn't longer term limits. Instead, those counties should improve education so there are more worthy candidates. Most offices in New Mexico have a two-term limit, and that seems about right. The Alibi does not endorse this amendment.

Constitutional Amendment 3

What it says: Our state's constitution still says people have to be at least 21 to vote, though the federal standard of 18 overrides that. This amendment would update New Mexico’s minimum voting age. It would allow the Legislature to decide whether convicted felons can vote. As it stands, our constitution bars "idiots" and "insane persons" from voting. With the amendment, it would be up to the Legislature to prevent mentally incapacitated people from voting, limiting it to those who can't fill out a ballot or communicate their preferences.

What we think: Updating the state's constitution is a great idea. This amendment will not only pull us in line with federal standards, it also removes offensive language and clarifies restrictions. Further, allowing the Legislature to make decisions about felons adds flexibility. The Alibi endorses this amendment.

Constitutional Amendment 4

What it says: Veterans organizations would no longer have to pay property taxes.

What we think: We're surprised—given that churches and charities aren't taxed this way—that veterans organizations are. For added security, the amendment specifies that the groups must be legit and approved by Congress. The Alibi endorses this amendment.

Constitutional Amendment 5

What it says: This would allow a legislator to be appointed to other offices if she resigns from the Legislature before the appointment.

What we think: The law used to read that legislators could not be appointed to other positions during their term, period. That seems like a good rule to us. It’s true that legislators don't make any money for the work they do aside from a per diem to cover daily expenses. But cronyism is ugly. With all the ethics violations and the general mistrust of government in our state, now is just not the time. The Alibi does not endorse this amendment.

 
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