Wednesday, January 28, 2009
NM Rep. Joe Cervantes Introduces Same Day Voter Registration Bill
Today Rep. Joe Cervantes introduced HB 395, a Same Day Voter Registration bill (SDR) which will allow New Mexico residents to register to vote on Election Day. With over 1.8 million residents in the state, there are currently 1,185,079 New Mexicans registered to vote. This bill would provide statewide voter registration on Election Day at polling locations with photo id.
“Unfortunately, the history of voter registration in the United States, is a history of exclusion,” Cervantes stated. “We have made great strides in providing access to all Americans to vote and this bill is another step in ensuring that New Mexicans have every opportunity to participate in the electoral process. This legislation will also help eliminate the political games and misconduct which have infected the process of voter registration.”
According to research conducted by Demos, a Network for Ideas & Action, adoption of same day registration would provide the following:
- Voter participation is projected to be 5.6 percent higher in New Mexico;
- Citizens who have recently moved or are younger find it easier to register and vote;
- Election administration, when SDR is thoughtfully implemented, can be improved and SDR does not undermine the Election Day experience of poll workers or voters;
- And there is no evidence that the prospects for election fraud are increased.
Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Wyoming have passed SDR or similar procedures. Organizations statewide such as League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and AFSCME are supporting Rep. Cervantes’ bill to increase voter participation.
“County Clerks know better than anyone the challenges in running elections and increasing voter participation,” stated Maggie Toulouse-Oliver, Bernalillo County Clerk. “I believe the successful passage of this bill is critical to improving access to the ballot and to putting voter registration back in the hands of County Clerks and their staff.”
Is this just on Election Day or during Early Voting, too? I think it makes more sense to do it during Early Voting because:
1. You don't have to be in the "right" polling place for the voter. If they aren't registered, how will they know where to go? That prevents Provisional ballots, which are a pain, and easy to mess up.
1. The polling place is connected electronically to (or actually in)the County Clerk's office, so voter data can be checked more easily and processed in time.
3. The registration is done by professionals, who are more likely to get it right the first time. Like Maggie said.
Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Jan 28, 2009 10:35:22 PM
I learned that this bill only covers election day but that discussions are going on about adding early in-person voting at some point. I agree it's a no brainer.
Posted by: barb | Jan 29, 2009 11:57:28 AM