Election legislation roundup: New Mexico State Legislature

As of April 2, members of the New Mexico State Legislature, which includes the New Mexico House of Representatives and the New Mexico State Senate, have passed four bills related to election administration since the beginning of the year. Of the four bills passed this year, four have been enacted. This is four more than this point a year ago. Democrats sponsored three bills, while one bill did not include sponsors. The bills are: 

  • NM HB4: Voting Rights Protections, no sponsors listed. 
    • As introduced, this bill:
      • Adds automatic voter registration as an option for voters, through other state agencies, as designated by the secretary of state, and outlines administrative requirements for automatic voter registration.
      • Prohibits voter data from being transferred, copied, or shared with anyone outside the requesting agency or to the general public.
      • Allows for same-day voter registration and establishes administrative guidelines, including listing acceptable forms of ID.
      • Prohibits a voter from changing party affiliation when registering to vote, or updating an existing voter registration, immediately before voting in a primary.
      • Repeals a provision that a voter’s registration will be canceled in the case of a felony conviction, provides that a voter is ineligible to vote while imprisoned for a felony conviction, and provides that qualified inmates shall be given the opportunity to register to vote during the reentry phase.
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • NM SB180: Election Changes, Sens. Katy Duhigg (D) and Leo Jaramillo (D).
    • Requires the secretary of state to implement a secure internet application to gather and verify electronic signatures in accordance with existing rules, by Jan. 1, 2024.
    • Changes the definition of a “registration officer” to include a clerk authorized member of an election board, instead of a board of registration member.
    • Specifies that the Election Code, rather than the Inspection of Public Records Act, applies when the Code provides for disclosure or nondisclosure of public records.
    • Requires an election related organization to register with the secretary of state at least 70 days before an election, or 42 days before a special or U.S. House vacancy election.
    • Directs the secretary of state to maintain an election security program that advises specified people regarding cybersecurity requirements and implementation, liaises with federal oversight and intelligence agencies regarding election infrastructure, outlines roles and responsibilities of the program, and provides related definitions.
    • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • NM SB43: Intimidation Of Election Officials, Sens. Katy Duhigg (D) and Peter Wirth (D).
    • As introduced, this bill expands the felony definition of intimidation to include actions taken against a number of election officials including employees of the secretary of state, county clerks, municipal clerks, members of election boards, and more.
  • NM SB335: Delay Part Of Local Election Act, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D).
    • As introduced, this bill delays the implementation of the Local Election Act until 2025 for districts created in the Conservancy Act. The 2023 election can be conducted using emergency paper ballot, electronic voting machine, or any other state certified tabulating voting machine.

From March 27-April 2, legislators passed eight bills related to election administration nationally. As of April 2, South Dakota legislators have passed the most bills this year with 18, while legislators in 28 states have passed none. The state with the most enacted bills is South Dakota with 16, while 32 states have enacted none.

The New Mexico State Legislature was scheduled to be in session from Jan. 17 to March 18 this year. In 2022, New Mexico legislators passed one election-related bill in the state Senate. The bill was not enacted into law. New Mexico is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

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