2018 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 1 - Elections
Article 14 - Contests and Recounts
Section 1-14-3 - Contest of election; filing of complaint.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 1-14-3 (2018)
1-14-3. Contest of election; filing of complaint.

Any action to contest an election shall be commenced by filing a verified complaint of contest in the district court of the county where either of the parties resides. Such complaint shall be filed no later than thirty days from issuance of the certificate of nomination or issuance of the certificate of election to the successful candidate. The party instituting the action shall be known as the contestant, and the party against whom the action is instituted shall be known as the contestee. The Rules of Civil Procedure apply to all actions commenced under the provisions of this section.

History: 1953 Comp., § 3-14-3, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 240, § 328; 1971, ch. 210, § 1.


Cross references. — For the Rules of Civil Procedure, see Rule 1-001 NMRA et seq.

Application of the Election Code to public improvement district formation elections. — The Election Code's thirty-day limitation period for filing a complaint to contest an election applies to a public improvement district formation election under the Public Improvement District Act. Glaser v. LeBus, 2012-NMSC-012, 276 P.3d 959.

Where the petitioners filed a complaint to contest an election to form a public improvement district under the Public Improvement District Act thirteen months after the election, the action was barred by the thirty-day limitation for filing a complaint to contest an election under the Election Code. Glaser v. LeBus, 2012-NMSC-012, 276 P.3d 959.

Shorter filing period in Rule 1-087 NMRA held invalid. — The 30-day filing period granted by the legislature in this section represents a substantive right which the supreme court has no power to reduce. Therefore, that portion of Rule 1-087 NMRA requiring notice of an election contest to be filed within 15 days of the issuance of the certificate of nomination is invalid, although other portions of the rule remain valid and must be followed. Eturriaga v. Valdez, 1989-NMSC-080, 109 N.M. 205, 784 P.2d 24.

"Election contest" construed. — Where petitioner sought a writ of mandamus directing respondent to effectuate the compilation of three constitutional amendments which were voted on in three separate elections, and where the petition was filed one, five, and seven years after the elections at issue were certified, the petition was not time-barred, because the substantive issue presented, whether a simple majority of the voters was enough to approve the 2008, 2010, and 2014 amendments to N.M. Const., art. VII, § 1 is not an election contest and the 30-day filing period does not apply, because the petition, rather than seeking to alter the certified results of the elections, sought clarity about the meaning and effect of the uncontested certified results of the elections under the New Mexico constitution. State ex rel. League of Women Voters v. Advisory Comm., 2017-NMSC-025.

Unverified petition dismissed. — A petition contesting the validity of a special bond election for the construction of a cultural facility did not invoke the jurisdiction of the district court, because it was not verified in accordance with this section, and was, therefore, properly dismissed. Dinwiddie v. Board of Cnty. Comm'rs, 1985-NMSC-099, 103 N.M. 442, 708 P.2d 1043, cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1117, 106 S. Ct. 1974, 90 L. Ed. 2d 658 (1986).

Section applicable to contest of primary election. — This section, not 1-8-35 NMSA 1978, applies to the contest of a primary election. Thompson v. Robinson, 1984-NMSC-096, 101 N.M. 703, 688 P.2d 21.

Notice of contest to allege contestant received more votes. — Since the objective of the contestant in an election contest is to be declared the winner, his notice of contest should allege that he has received more legal votes than the contestee, and a failure to so allege is not a claim showing that the contestant is entitled to relief. Heth v. Armijo, 1972-NMSC-011, 83 N.M. 498, 494 P.2d 160.

Function and effect of prayer in election contests does not differ from that in ordinary civil actions. Heth v. Armijo, 1972-NMSC-011, 83 N.M. 498, 494 P.2d 160.

Prayer to only determine relief sought or interpret ambiguity. — The prayer in election contests can be looked to and considered only to determine what relief is sought by the complaint, or to interpret any ambiguity in the complaint. Heth v. Armijo, 1972-NMSC-011, 83 N.M. 498, 494 P.2d 160.

Prayer not to determine if complaint states cause of action. — The prayer cannot be taken into account to determine whether or not the body of the complaint states a cause of action in ordinary civil cases, and the same is true in election contests. Heth v. Armijo, 1972-NMSC-011, 83 N.M. 498, 494 P.2d 160.

Rules of civil procedure apply to election contests except when inconsistent. Heth v. Armijo, 1972-NMSC-011, 83 N.M. 498, 494 P.2d 160.

Quo warranto proper action to contest municipal school board election. — Quo warranto was a proper action to bring since there was no provision in the Election Code or other related statutes providing for contests for municipal school board elections. State v. Rodriguez, 1958-NMSC-136, 65 N.M. 80, 332 P.2d 1005 (decided under former law).

Names of voters need not be specified. — Names of persons whose ballots were fraudulently changed after returns of election need not be specified in notice of contest. Rogers v. Scott, 1931-NMSC-027, 35 N.M. 446, 300 P. 441 (decided under former law).

Justices of peace (now magistrates) and constables may institute contest proceedings. Carabajal v. Lucero, 1916-NMSC-045, 22 N.M. 30, 158 P. 1088 (decided under former law).

District court only tribunal having original jurisdiction. — Under former statute providing for commencement of actions to contest elections, district court was only tribunal having original jurisdiction to determine questions regarding legality of individual ballots. Bull v. Southwick, 1882-NMSC-015, 2 N.M. 321.

Am. Jur. 2d, A.L.R. and C.J.S. references. — 26 Am. Jur. 2d Elections §§ 425, 432, 433.

29 C.J.S. Elections §§ 254, 267, 268(1).

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