By law, idiots cannot vote in New Mexico. An effort to enfranchise them has failed.

Under the New Mexico Constitution, Article VII, Section 1, all U.S. citizens over the age of 21, “except idiots, insane persons and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime ” have the right to vote in elections for public offices in this state.

The 21 year age limit is superseded by the federal Constitution. The twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America provides that the right of United States citizens, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age, and gives Congress enforcement power.

In 2001, a bill was enacted to submit a proposed amendment to the voters, to make the age limit conform with federal law and to delete the references to “idiots” and “insane persons”.

It was probably a mistake to log-roll the two amendments into one proposal. On November 5, 2002, the proposed amendment was defeated by a margin of 56 percent “against” to 44 percent “for”.