Common Cause: Online Voter Registration For New Mexico Is Real Progress
Governor Susana Martinez signed the Online Voter Registration Bill, SB 643 sponsored by Senator Lisa Torraco (R-Bernalillo). This has been a long time priority for Common Cause New Mexico as well as our numerous partner organizations we work with in our Election Administration Coalition. We so appreciate the hard work so many folks put into making this a reality, and a special thanks to Governor Martinez for signing it!
Online Voter Registration modernizes our Election System for all New Mexicans:The traditional voter registration update methods are increasingly out-of-step with 21st century advancements. This antiquated system – largely unchanged since the 19th century – requires forms that are distributed by frontline state agencies, completed and checked by hand, and then mailed or delivered to other government offices for verification and processing. While there will always be a need for paper registration updates in certain instances, adding a paperless system adds a layer of access to voter registration for all New Mexicans.
Online Voter Registration Improves Access and Opportunity: Paperless registration allows states to reach many under-registered populations, like college students who have regular access to internet and are culturally comfortable conducting business online. Online registration offers more access for voters, in addition to state offices and voter registration agencies.
Online Voter Registration helps those New Mexicans who Move Each Year: Many New Mexicans move each and every year – allowing people to update and register online ensures more eligible New Mexicans will be able to cast their ballot in elections.
The bill was amended to incorporate several additional great pieces of legislation, resulting in a bill that gives New Mexico:
· full online voter registration
· will allow us join the ERIC program for better voter rolls
· can clean up the election code – something our County Clerks’ have needed for years
· also encodes laws providing for military and overseas voters
The bill passed the Senate 34-0, passed the House 64-0 and with the Governor’s signature today, we join at least 25 other states in offering online voter registration. The bills amended into Senator Torraco’s bill are:
· SB 195, Uniform Military & Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA) , Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Bernalillo) and Rep. Bob Wooley (R-Chaves)
· SB 617, the Election Code Clean-Up & Modernization Bill, Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto and Rep. Jim Smith (R-Bernalillo, Torrance)
· HB 62, Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) bill, Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Bernalillo)and Rep. Jim Smith (R-Bernalillo, Torrance)