We’re all familiar with the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

In the case of a proposed amendment to the New Mexico Constitution that failed in Tuesday’s election, it seems you can alter that to say, “It’s not what you write, but how it’s written.”

Amendment No. 1, dealing with school elections, received 57.6 percent approval from voters across the state. But since the amendment concerned voting rights, it needed to be favored by at least 75 percent of the electorate.

Critics called wording of the amendment confusing, which generated a spate of stories — including one by New Mexico Watchdog — in the days leading up to the election.

“I think the panoply of stories of this (amendment) being confusing contributed to the confusion,” said state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, the sponsor of Amendment No. 1, who was quick to add that he was not blaming the media for the amendment falling 17.4 points shy of passage.

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