Voting is a constitutional right. Yet, in far too many cities and states such as New Mexico, eligible voters face many unnecessary barriers to register to vote and exercise this right. Properly designed and implemented, voter-friendly reforms such as Automatic Voter Registration can streamline and ease the voter registration process. Designed and implemented correctly, Demos estimates that our model of Inclusive Automatic Voter Registration would add as many as 300,000 eligible voters to the rolls in just its first years of implementation.
Today, State Representative Javier Martinez, State Representative Liz Thomson, State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, with the support of many organizations and coalitions and the New Mexico Inclusive Democracy Project, announced a constitutional amendment to increase voter access in New Mexico. The constitutional amendment 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. If approved by the State Legislature and voters, this amendment will pave the way for hundreds of thousands of New Mexican voters to get on the rolls and help achieve more inclusive voter participation.
Demos applauds today’s announcement for its potential to empower the people of New Mexico to participate in our democracy and have their voices heard. We have been honored to co-convene and support the New Mexico Inclusive Democracy coalition as part of our national Inclusive Democracy Project—a national strategy to support racial and gender justice organizations to play a lead role in designing and winning democracy reforms.
The success of the reforms introduced today depends on engagement and collaboration with local community leaders. The New Mexico Inclusive Democracy Project is 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 Strong Families New Mexico, and Demos.
Demos remains committed to working with organizations and community leaders across the country to put in place policies that make it easier for people to participate in our democracy and vote. Voting reforms are important structural reforms in the journey to becoming a country where we all have an equal chance in our economy and an equal say in our democracy.
To learn more about our Inclusive Democracy Program, including hearing directly from New Mexican and other grassroots leaders, watch this video, or take a look at this report evaluating the project’s first two years of impact.