County made right decision taking down video

Freedom New Mexico

Growing public outcry and a legal petition filed Monday finally got the attention of Curry County officials. On Wednesday they stopped playing a video in the county courthouse that many residents believe promotes passage of a bond and a tax to pay for a proposed $33 million judicial complex.

We applaud the decision.

The petition was filed by lawyer Eric Dixon, on behalf of county residents Al Lewis and J.W. Graham, in 9th District Court. They sought to have the video removed because they believe it violated state law prohibiting campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place. Voting booths are located in an office down the hall from where the video was being aired.

If the county wouldn’t stop playing the video, they argued, it should at least allow an opposing view to be posted nearby.

County Attorney Steve Doerr said officials do not believe they’ve done anything wrong in showing the video, but agreed to remove it from the courthouse because the controversy “was becoming a distraction to the issues in this election.”

County officials paid a public relations firm $20,000 to provide information to voters about a proposed jail and courthouse that will be decided in Tuesday’s election. That work included the video, which critics label as far more promotional than informational.

We’ve already stated our objections to the video and the two ballot issues in an Oct. 17 editorial. Our editorial lays out the facts as we see them, and the video does the same from the county’s standpoint.

We won’t get into all that again. Today, we’ll just say we’re glad county officials did the right thing in shutting down the video outside the clerk’s office.