Friday, March 15, 2019

Bill Modernizing New Mexico’s Election System Headed to Governor’s Desk

Santa Fe, N.M.– A bill that will to modernize the election and voter registration processes in New Mexico has cleared its final hurdle after it passed the House on a 45-22 vote and was concurred in the Senate, late Thursday night. Senate Bill 672 –sponsored by Sens. Linda Lopez (D-District 11) and Daniel Ivey Soto (D-District 15), and Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-District 48)– now heads to the governor’s desk.

“Today, the Legislature passed a bold piece of legislation that will strengthen democracy in New Mexico,” said Oriana Sandoval, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy. “SB 672 protects the integrity of our elections by ensuring eligible voters have access to a more secure, efficient, and accurate system that reassures them they will be able to vote and that their vote counts”.

SB 672 officially updates the current MVD New Mexican voting registration system and allows for expansion to state agencies, like the Human Services Department (HSD). By implementing AVR for all eligible voting-age citizens, New Mexico is taking vital steps towards ensuring the security and efficiency of future elections. Additionally, registration modernization protects eligible voter access while cleaning up outdated voter rolls and overall saving the state money. 

Registering to vote and casting a ballot still remains an obstacle for too many eligible voters and that’s why we need to continue improving our democratic processes; Automated voter registration increases registration rates while helping to clean up voter rolls and saving the state money,” said New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “This bill codifies New Mexico’s current automated voter registration system and will expand it to other state agencies beyond the MVD. NM can now join the 17 other states and the District of Columbia that offer same-day voter registration options to eligible voters. It’s simply easier for New Mexicans to fit voting into their busy lives when they can register and vote on the same day.”

This comes as great news not only to the people and families of New Mexico, but demonstrates a promising, pro-democracy direction of the New Mexico Legislature. 

“SB 672 represents a big step in making democracy more inclusive in New Mexico so everyone in every community can have a voice,” said Justin Rogers, member of OLÉ. “I believe when anyone wants to get involved in the process — whether it’s young people voting for the first time or new citizens like the ones I’ve worked with at OLE– we should encourage them and make it as easy as possible, rather than putting barriers in their way”.

“By adding Automatic voter registration and same day registration, we are bringing down barriers that have made it more difficult for thousands of eligible voters in our state to have their voice heard in our democracy,” said Heather Ferguson of Common Cause New Mexico. “By creating a safer, more secure and modern registration system today, we are protecting the right to vote for every eligible citizen while protecting access to the polls which unfortunately has been denied to so many in the past.”

New Mexico now joins the 17 other states and the District of Columbia that offer same day voter registration options to eligible voters.

“We applaud the NM Legislators for passing SB 672 to make certain our elections are secure, convenient and accessible for all eligible voters in NM,” Sandoval said. “We look forward to Governor Luján Grisham signing this legislation that makes our state a leader in democracy reforms nationwide, building a stronger democracy for ALL New Mexicans.”