Friday, January 16, 2009
Common Cause NM Releases Post-Election Report and Reform Proposals
Common Cause New Mexico today released “Count Every Vote New Mexico, Election Report 2008,” a detailed analysis of voter protection efforts in New Mexico in 2008, along with proposals for reforming election administration in the state. During 2008, Common Cause New Mexico was part of a nonpartisan coalition that worked hard to improve the electoral process and safeguard the rights of New Mexico voters. Common Cause has created Count Every Vote New Mexico, a permanent, state-based project designed to ensure that the problems uncovered during this effort are fully addressed through changes to the state’s election code and the issuance of administrative rules.
“Our most important proposal for reform is Same Day Registration,” says Steven Robert Allen, Executive Director of Common Cause New Mexico. Eight states now have Same Day Registration, and a ninth, North Carolina, allows for registration at early voting sites.
“We believe that many of the concerns surrounding voter registration and provisional ballots would be greatly alleviated with a solid bill allowing for voter registration both during early voting and on election day,” Allen says.
As reported in the Albuquerque Journal in November, Gov. Bill Richardson, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse and NM House Majority Leader Ken Martinez support same day registration. A bill to allow same day voter registration has been pre-filed by Rep. Jim R. Trujillo (D, Santa Fe) as HB 52.
Other reforms discussed in the Common Cause report include:
- revising restrictions on third-party registration agents
- a statute allowing early voting for voters who have requested absentee ballots but have not received them
- setting a minimum deadline for absentee ballot applications; changing the deadline for mailing absentee ballots
- adopting a county-level focus regarding post-election audits
- replacing the two-percent audit with a risk-limiting approach employing an adjustable sample model
- requiring that machines audited were actually used in the election
- a clean up project to delete contradictory and outdated language from the Election Code
- an administrative rule codifying guidance issued by the Secretary of State regarding challengers