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New Mexico voters can now sign up to receive absentee ballots permanently

File - New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver speaks during a press briefing on Oct. 19, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. State election officials and privacy advocates are raising alarms about a push by several conservative groups, some with ties to allies of former President Donald Trump, to access state voter rolls and turn them public so citizens can search for instances of potential fraud. The head of elections in New Mexico, Oliver fears many voters might withdraw from registration lists as personal data is posted online. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)
Morgan Lee/AP
absentee ballots

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Registered voters in New Mexico for the first time can join a permanent list to receive an absentee ballot by mail in future elections, state election regulators announced Wednesday.

The secretary of state's office says it is accepting online requests for absentee ballots ahead of the June 4 primary on the website NMVote.org, where qualified voters can opt in to the permanent list.

Previously voters had to request an absentee ballot with each election in a voting process that could involve three or four mail deliveries.

Absentee ballots can be returned by mail or by hand at county clerks' offices or ballot drop boxes in some areas. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot in the state's June 4 primary is May 21.

New Mexico's permanent absentee ballot list was authorized under 2023 legislation aimed at expanding access to the ballot in New Mexico. The law also requires that each of New Mexico’s 33 counties maintain at least two monitored ballot drop boxes, though county clerks can request an exemption.

“Voting by absentee ballot is a secure and efficient way to make your voice heard and the new permanent absentee list option for voters is yet another way we’ve increased the convenience of voting,” Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said in a statement.