Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy. Protecting that right is one of the central obligations of our government. All eligible New Mexicans deserve an efficient, secure, and inclusive voting process, regardless of where they live.
We must modernize our election laws and strengthen our democracy at a time when it is increasingly under attack. The New Mexico Voting Rights Act will increase access so all eligible voters can have their voices heard.
1. BALLOT ACCESS IS A CORNERSTONE OF OUR DEMOCRACY
Our democracy works best when every eligible New Mexican can exercise their rights to register to vote and cast a ballot. But too often, unnecessary and excessively burdensome barriers make that impossible for citizens in our state, particularly people of color, tribal communities, students, working families, the elderly, and people with disabilities who have historically been disenfranchised and silenced.
2. KEY PROVISIONS TO STRENGTHEN VOTING RIGHTS
- Native Voter Protections: This bill will increase collaboration between tribal leaders and election clerks to strengthen ballot access. It will also standardize early voting on tribal lands and guarantee much-needed resources for polling places and secure ballot drop boxes. There’s no reason Native people should have a higher barrier to requesting election resources, but currently tribes must request their polling site and election information a full year in advance of election day. This bill will address that unreasonable disparity.
- Restoration of Voting Rights: A vital part of reintegration for someone after they have been incarcerated is the restoration of their right to vote. Yet today, 17,000 New Mexicans who are home, working, paying taxes and raising families are not allowed to vote. This bill would send a powerful message about the power of rehabilitation by automatically restoring the constitutional right to vote after incarceration.
- Permanent Absentee List: In 2020, 65 million Americans decided to vote by mail because it’s safe, secure and accessible, just like a fair and free democracy should be. Allowing eligible voters to mark their preference for a mail ballot is a tried-and-true way to ensure all eligible New Mexicans can participate in our state’s elections, this is particularly for voters in rural communities, those who don’t own a car or have limited transportation options.
3. THE NEW MEXICO WAY
Our state has a chance to show the rest of the U.S. how to strengthen our democracy and expand voting access at a time when extremists nationwide are trying to undermine this fundamental right. By leading with our fundamental values of equality under the law and free and fair elections, New Mexico can be a nationwide leader in voter rights.