SANTA FE (KRQE) — While the mistake was small, New Mexico candidates who turned in nominating petitions with missing information still broke the law, a law that many of them actually voted for.
Yet on Tuesday the New Mexico Supreme Court sided with those candidates saying the mistake wasn't enough to throw them off the ballot in the June primary election.
By law all candidates had to write their district number on their petitions when gathering signatures.
A handful forgot, and these are not just any candidates.
They were long-time legislators who combined make up more than 180 years of legislative experience.
The Supreme Court justices let it slide, though, because they said the law was not clear enough.
About a dozen or so candidates running for judgeships, district attorneys, the Public Regulation Commission and the Legislature forgot to put their political districts on their petitions.
That was required by a new law that state lawmakers passed last year as a safeguard to make sure people signing nominating petitions were actually registered voters in that district.
But still at least 10 legislators, many of whom voted for the bill including Senate President Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, circulated their petitions without their district number.
It prompted a slew of lawsuits from their challengers who said those candidates should be booted from the ballot because they broke the law.
"The people need to ask themselves, 'Is this the type of person that I want representing me in this respective position, someone that could not follow directions and fill out a simple form in compliance with state law?'" said Rep. Thomas Garcia, d- cate, told KRQE News 13.
The candidates in question argued it was unfair because there was no place to write their district number on the form.
They said tossing their petitions would have been unfair to the voters.
"I think our arguments were better," Jennings said. "This is all about voter disenfranchisement and taking things away from the voters."
The Supreme Court also asked the Legislature to clarify the statutes during next year's legislative session.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.