By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico District Court judge has upheld the state’s closed primary system against a challenge from an independent voter.

State District Judge Denise Barela-Shepherd said in the ruling issued Wednesday that the state legislature had not exceeded its authority when it set up the process

Currently, only Republicans and Democrats can vote in primary elections - something critics say contributes to low voter turnout.

Albuquerque resident David Crum sought to allow people the right to pick a party on the day of the primary so they can vote.

Turnout dropped 8 percent in the state’s June primary election, with only one in five Democratic and Republican voters casting ballots.

Crum’s attorney, Ed Hollington, says he plans to appeal the case all the way to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

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