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Voting Rights Act Heads To Governor

Kevin Meerschaert

A bill to make major changes to New Mexico’s voting laws is on its way to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.  

The New Mexico Voting Rights Act passed the House Monday on a concurrence vote of the Senate version 42-25.

The act is much like a bill in the legislature last year that was filibustered to death on the last day of the session.

HB4would require automatic voter registration,  restore a felon’s right to vote after completing their sentence and create a permanent absentee voter list. And make Election Day a state holiday.

Co-sponsor House Majority Floor Leader Gail Chasey says the changes made in the Senate should help ease some concerns rural election officials had regarding mandated drop boxes. 

“The County Clerks could request a waiver regarding the number of security boxes in each county with consideration of geographic or security concerns,” she said. “ We also removed section three because there were concerns about the privacy of individual voter data and the potential for possible conflict with federal law.” 

The bill also includes the Native American Voting Rights Act. It would establish precinct boundaries to align with tribal boundaries, allow the use of public buildings on tribal lands to be used as mailing addresses, require language interpreters at polling locations, expand early voting opportunities and provide necessary resources to county clerks so they can comply with all aspects of the new laws.

  House Speaker Javier Martinez says The New Mexico Voting Rights Act will empower diverse communities to participate in elections, strengthen democracy, and make the government more representative of its people.