Election Reform Nearly on the Governor’s Desk

Common Cause New Mexico has been highly involved in providing input and pushing for an election reform bill during ongoing Special Session.

SB 4 Temporary Election Changes, carried by Senators Daniel Ivey-Soto, Gabriel Ramos and Representatives Linda Trujillo and Wonda Johnson put protections in for New Mexico voters to ensure voters across the state are not disenfranchises due to a pandemic.

In its initial form, Senate Bill 4 would have allowed county clerks to mail ballots to voters in early October, even without voters first requesting an absentee ballot, as is currently required.

Under the bill approved, county clerks could still decide to send out absentee ballot applications in advance of the Nov. 3 general election or just leave it up to voters to decide a voting method.

New Mexico senators approved an amendment that would allow independent voters to cast ballots in primary elections by registering with a major party on Election Day, potentially opening up primaries to a wider swath of the population.

The bill includes provisions aimed at ensuring voting locations in Native American communities remain open, allowing absentee ballot applications to be sent out earlier than allowed now and requiring a bar code system on ballot envelopes to make it easier to track them.

Those changes would be temporary, but the modified open primary system would be permanent.

Senate Bill 4 now heads to the House Floor. If approved there, it would go to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.