Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB50/HB84
Summary: SB50 and HB84 are identical bills that would allow every person who is a qualified elector and is applying for a driver's license or ID card or renewing or updating a driver's license or ID card to be automatically registered to vote, or to have an existing voter registration automatically updated, unless the person declines to register or have their registration updated. These bills would also make automatic voter registration available at all state agencies providing public assistance or services to people with disabilities and at other state and local public offices designated by the Secretary of State.
History: A similar bill, HB28, was introduced in 2017. It passed 56-10 in the House. It was reported out with amendments and without recommendation by the Senate Rules Committee; no action was taken by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The original bill described an opt-out system: citizens could decline to register, but registration would be the default action. Amendments by the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee changed this to an opt-in system.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is a process states are adopting (and the U.S. House is considering) to update our current paper-based system with an electronic system that creates a secure database to automatically identify and register all eligible Americans to vote. The secure database actively updates voter registration information when people apply for or renew their driver’s license or when they change their address
- AVR is secure: Our paper-based voting system is outdated. An electronic automatic voter registration system uses a secure database to ensure that those who are ineligible to vote will not be able to take advantage of an insecure system.
- AVR is accessible: AVR will protect the fundamental right of every New Mexican to vote, regardless of party. It will ensure that those who have historically encountered barriers to voting––veterans, active military, senior citizens, and people with disabilities––are able to participate fully in our democracy.
- AVR is accurate: Each year, many thousands of paper voter registration forms are manually entered into a database. Too often, mistakes happen that deny eligible New Mexicans their right to vote.
- AVR will dramatically increase the number of registered voters in NM, resulting in more democratic elections.
Supporting Organizations: New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics; ACLU; Common Cause