OUR VOTE IS OUR VOICE

The right to vote is the centerpiece of our democracy. Regardless of political party, New Mexicans want free and fair elections where every eligible citizen can participate.

Common Cause New Mexico is a leading force in protecting the right to vote and making voting more accessible. Over the years, we’ve made progress and our election laws are generally voter friendly.

However, there are still some areas where we must improve, including the 28-day voter registration deadline and our closed primary system, which disenfranchises Independent and decline-to-state (DTS) voters.

In New Mexico, we have achieved:

  • Online voter registration available through the secretary of state’s website
  • Allowing 17-year olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election
  • Joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to share voter registration records with other participating states to keep voter rolls more accurate
  • Using paper ballots, which allows for audits to confirm election results

But we can do more. Here are some critical reforms we should enact:

  • Automatic voter registration is key to increasing participation and amplifying citizens’ voices in the process. Automatic voter registration shifts the burden of voter registration from the individual to the state, as is done in many developed democracies around the world. Automatic voter registration ensures that all eligible persons can vote unless they opt-out of being put on the rolls (which all voters have the opportunity to do). It makes registration more efficient for voters and election administrators, and voter lists more accurate.
  • Reduce the time between the voter registration deadline and Election Day. Currently, voters must register 28 days prior to Election Day. The technology for same-day voting and registration is available, and we’ve supported proposals for reducing the deadline to three days, allowing voters to register up to the Saturday before the election. By giving voters more time to register, we will improve turnout and participation.
  • Common Cause New Mexico has long supported open primaries, allowing DTS and Independent voters the right to vote in primary elections in New Mexico. This is critical, considering that the number of voters registering as DTS or Other has tripled since 1982, from 7% of registered voters to 22% of registered voters in 2016. Even more telling is the party affiliation of younger voters – nearly 40% of voters aged 18 to 24 are registered either as DTS or Independent. This is a clear signal that our young voters are turned off by partisan politics.

Modernizing systems to secure registration and encourage participation by every eligible voter makes sense and saves taxpayers money.

 

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Voting Systems and Elections Security