On May 1st, the High Plains Patriots joined the New Mexico Citizens Coalition in submitting a petition for the election of an ordinance that requires photo identification of voters in Clovis municipal elections. The city of Rio Rancho has this same ordinance already in place so that voter id is required there. The press release from NMCC can be seen here: Press Release NMCC
The Clovis City Clerk in the City Manager’s Office, Leighann Melancon, told us by phone yesterday that the City has rejected our request and would not certify the petition. According to NMSA 3-1-5, the city clerk is only required to approve the form of the petition, but the city did not say what part of the form does not meet state statute and has not given a reason for the rejection in writing. This is in apparent violation of the law.
You can read the state statute on how the process must be accomplished here:
NM PETITION RULES
The City Clerk submitted our petition form to the City Attorney’s office as instructed by the City Manager. Apparently the City Attorney must be unaware of the citizen’s right to petition the Commission to approve an ordinance and unaware that the clerk only approves the form of the petition, not the subject, the wording, nor the ordinance itself. Other cities like Hobbs have already approved this same petition earlier this week. A complaint has been submitted to the Secretary of State because the rights of the citizens of Clovis to petition for an ordinance by election have been violated.
The petition form itself can be seen here :
CLOVIS FINAL PETITION FORM
Without the City Clerk’s certification the City Commission will not be required to act on the petition even if it has the required number of signatures. The city of Hobbs approved this same petition on Tuesday. New Mexico has protected the people’s right to self government by establishing a process by which the citizen can remove laws and public officials that are egregious to them, and to establish laws that are beneficial. The City Manager’s office has abridged that right because of the opinion of legal counsel, even the legal requirements for petition are met. Legal advice like this does not benefit the City nor its people. Consider contacting a City Commissioner if you agree.
Other cities, like Portales, may require a change in the city charter in order to permit the process of an ordinance by petition. Contact the High Plains Patriots by email at email@example.com or by mail at PO box 6003, Clovis, NM 88101 if you would like to help implement this change.