Groups Praise Automatic Voter Registration Constitutional Amendment to Increase Voter Access in New Mexico

Release Date: 
January 18, 2017

Lawmakers Introduce Constitutional Amendment that voters will approve in 2018 statewide election

For Immediate Release

Contact Rebecca Glenn, 505-720-8918, OLÉ or Andrea Serrano, OLÉ/NM Inclusive Democracy Project, 505-688-139

Santa Fe, NM — On Wednesday, lawmakers announced a constitutional amendment that will give voters an opportunity to decide whether or not to make the State of New Mexico responsible for ensuring that every eligible voter is registered to vote. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will increase voter turnout and drives New Mexico toward a more inclusive democracy. Currently, the burden falls on the individual to register themselves to vote.

AVR has support of many organizations and coalitions, including the New Mexico Inclusive Democracy Project, a partnership between CAFé, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, Equal Voices NM, Generation Justice, New Mexico Working Families Party, OLÉ, the SouthWest Organizing Project, and Strong Families New Mexico and Demos.

Maria Gonzalez, member of OLÉ said, “I became a citizen and voting is very important to me. My grown kids were not registered in time to vote in the last presidential election. Automatic voter registration will make sure they get to vote in every election.”

Representatives Javier Martinez and Liz Thomson, as well as Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, will sponsor the measure in the House and Senate respectively. If passed by voters, Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will be administered through the Secretary of State’s office, which is currently held by Maggie Toulouse.

“New Mexico is one of a number of states where eligible voters face unnecessary barriers to register to vote and to exercise this fundamental right. Properly designed and implemented reforms, such as Automatic Voter Registration, can streamline the voter registration process, enabling hundreds of thousands of New Mexican voters to register and establishing more inclusive voter participation. Demos applauds Representative Javier Martinez, Representative Liz Thomson and Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto for introducing important voter friendly reform legislation in the state. We look forward to continuing to support the New Mexico Inclusive Democracy Project to ensure the people of New Mexico can participate in our democracy and have their voices heard.” said Jodeen Olguin-Tayler, Vice President Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Demos.
 
Unlike regular legislation, a constitutional amendment must be passed by both chambers but does not require the governor’s signature before going to voters in 2018.