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Running for office as an Independent


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I've been involved in local efforts to take political mapmaking away from politicians for years. Now that I am a candidate for the State House of Representatives, I have a new and amplified platform. Running for office as an independent also gives me a megaphone to talk about ballot access inequity. 

Posted on 22 Jan 2018, 17:22 - Category: News

Jarratt Applewhite's thoughts on the upcoming census

Opinion article just published in The Independent:

2020 Census Is Just Around The Corner, by Jarratt Applewhite



Posted on 19 Jan 2018, 14:48 - Category: News

Under the Radar: Parties Collude Using Census to Trade Votes

The map that New Mexico’s legislature adopted after the last census in 2011 contains many districts that do not conform to fair community of interest principles.  It is important that these inequities are addressed in 2021.

There are three distinct actions that citizens across the state can take to advance this issue.

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•  First, citizens should urge their legislators to turn the redistricting process in 2021 over to a nonpartisan body whose members have geographic and demographic data interpretation skills and who don’t have political interests. Forward-thinking lawmakers should be encouraged to advance legislation that would accomplish this purpose.  Doing so would advance their public image.

•  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, people who feel disenfranchised because of the configuration of their district should employ a variety of grassroots organizing methods to urge the legislature to cure the inequity of their map in 2021.  Incumbent legislators who plan to stand for reelection are attentive to their constituents’ concerns.  Even if they aren’t willing to relinquish authority for boundary setting to an independent body, they will note voter concerns and take them into account even if the current unfair system stays in effect.  

•  Activists in unfairly drawn districts should consider running for office and make curing the inequity of their jurisdiction’s map a centerpiece of their campaign.

The time is now.  2020 IS just around the corner!  If New Mexicans aren’t attentive, they’ll become hostage for ten more years to yet another set of maps that don’t reflect their communities’ best interests.

Written by Jarratt Applewhite, a fifty year resident of New Mexico who has been active in a range of good government reform efforts.  He is a current candidate for House District 50.  connect on Twitter and Facebook

Originally published in on 12/3/17. 


Posted on 15 Jan 2018, 14:12 - Category: News

Jarratt Applewhite Launches Independent Campaign For The State House Of Representatives, District 50

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This candidacy is focused in two issues: Bringing Back The Estancia Valley, and Fixing Our Democracy.

Bringing Back The Estancia Valley

District 50 was shamefully redrawn after the last census to make it a safe Democratic seat. For decades it had been a center-of-New-Mexico farm and ranch district encompassing the broad Estancia Valley. When it was redrawn in 2011, that community of interest disappeared. Over 4,000 voters from Valencia County were added in a suburb of Belen (an area separated from the balance of District 50 by the Manzano Mountains). Those people should be voting with other residents of the Rio Grande corridor. Approximately 6,500 voters in the suburban community of Santa Fe called Eldorado were also added. And most of the Estancia Valley was left out, including the entire city of Estancia and much  of the city of Moriarty.

“Setting aside the issue of whether legislators or, as I prefer, nonpartisan experts should be doing the map-making for political jurisdictions, it is impossible not to recognize the unfairness of the current boundary of District 50. A huge percentage of its voters are disenfranchised,” Applewhite says.

Fixing Our Democracy

Our democracy has devolved over the past two decades. Political polarization and partisanship are increasing. Extreme viewpoints are drowning out moderate voices. Compromise is a dirty word. Younger voters don’t participate; many of us are disgusted. Politicians increasingly seem to put party interests ahead of the common good.

We need a fairer and more transparent system, one that encourages more people to vote and more candidates to run.

Fixing our Democracy has three simple components many of which have been adopted in other states.

 1. Fixing Gerrymandering is self explanatory.

 2. Open Primaries — taxes contributed by voters who do not belong to a party are used to pay for the current closed primaries and, yet, unaffiliated voters can’t participate in them.

3.  Ballot Access is also simple — there’s no reason to make it harder for nonpartisans to become candidates than party members.

“I’ve got a steep hill to climb. New Mexico has the highest percentage of unopposed races at the State level in its general elections in the nation. The major reason for that is how hard to is for nonpartisan candidates to have their voices heard. In the 40 years since the courts forced NM to allow independent candidates to run, only 16 candidates have been able to get on the ballot — through 2014 there had been 1638 races! As an independent, I’ll need to get ten times as many nominating petition signatures as if I were a Republican and, because I’m not registered with a party, I can’t start collecting them until March when the petitions are published. I’m going to work as hard as I can to create a new way to invigorate our democracy,says Applewhite.


For Further Information:
phone: (505) 365-9512

Posted on 30 Nov 2017, 11:25 - Category: News

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