Voting Bills Thursday!
SB 42, Agreement to Elect President by Popular Vote, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, will be heard in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee on Thursday! The committee meets at 1:30 p.m. or ½ hour the floor session in Room 315.
Under the National Popular Vote plan, the compact would take effect only when enabling legislation has been enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes— that is 270 of the 538 electoral votes. Once effective, states could withdraw from the compact at any time except during the six-month window between July 20th of an election year and inauguration day (January 20th).
To determine the National Popular Vote winner, state election officials would simply tally the nationwide vote for President based on each state’s official results. Then, state elections officials in all states participating in the plan would choose electors sworn to support the presidential candidate who received the largest number of popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The winner would receive all of the compacting states’ electoral votes plus additional electoral votes from whatever non-compacting states happened to be carried by the nationwide winner. Thus, in practice, the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide would typically receive about three-quarters of the electoral votes.
SB 224, Register Voters 3 Days Before Elections, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, is also scheduled for the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee on Thursday, March 9 at 1:30 or ½ hour after the floor session in Room 315. This bill will extend the Voter Registration Deadline by allowing registration, in real time, through the Saturday before Election Day.
Democracy works best when the highest number of people participate in the process. Low voter turnout has been a problem in New Mexico, and registering through early voting is an effective way to boost voter turnout. Our election officials currently have the technology to process voter registration forms in real time thus allowing registration through the Saturday before Election Day.
Friday, March 10
Two good government bills on the Senate Rules Committee calendar – committee starts at 8:30 a.m. in Room 321. These were on the calendar for Wednesday and were both rolled when the committee ran out of time.
HB 73, Public Officials as Lobbyists, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dines, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Nathan Small. This bill requires legislators to wait two years before registering to lobby at our state legislature in New Mexico. Common Cause New Mexico testified that, “Revolving Door” legislation is important so that average citizens’ access to their legislators doesn’t feel negated by the relationships and influence of recently retired legislators, who are free to immediately return to the legislature to lobby their former colleagues.
HB 174, Local Election Act, sponsored by Rep. James Smith and Sen. Ivey-Soto. The bill would streamline the included local elections by consolidating their procedures. The elections named in the act would be conducted on the same date, with the same dates and processes for filings, campaign finance reports, and declarations of candidacy, thus potentially reducing costs and administrative burdens associated with conducting several different elections with related procedures and timelines.
This is an important bill for democracy. Low turn-out elections are a problem for democracy and elections which are not held at the same time as either the general election or a municipal election have poor turn out, which can tend to skew things in one direction or another.
Please check in for an update from the Common Cause New Mexico team tomorrow so see what other bills may be added to committee calendars on the Democracy Wire page of our website!