Thursday, March 14, 2019

New Mexico Comes Closer to Becoming 18th State to Pass AVR Legislation

New Mexico voting-rights experts hail move as ‘great step’ to modernize elections

Santa Fe, NM – Today, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill that will improve eligible citizens’ voter registration processes and help voters participate in their democracy by a 44-22 vote, Wednesday afternoon. Senate Bill 672, sponsored by Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, Senator Linda Lopez, and Representative Linda Trujillo, will now return to the Senate for concurrence after amendments were added during the House floor debate.

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 Additionally, registration modernization protects eligible voter access while cleaning up outdated voter rolls and overall saving the state money.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”.

“Registering to vote and casting a ballot still remains an obstacle for too many eligible voters and that’s why we need to always be finding ways to improve those processes with bills like SB 672,” said Oriana Sandoval, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy.

“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.”