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Can New Mexico Voters Soon Register & Vote on the same day? House Bill 86 says, “YES.”

Some of us think about politics every day. Others don’t. House Bill 86 titled “Election Day and Early Voting Site Registration,” would nevertheless allow those distracted by other life events to fully participate once voting has commenced—people like busy moms and stress-out employees.

If passed, the bill would allow a New Mexico resident, with a NM driver’s license or i.d., and proof of residency, to go to an election site, register to vote, take a simple oath of registration, and then proceed to vote.

The registration could take place at an early voting site or at an election-day voting location, with the stipulation that the location must be in his/her precinct. The prospective voter might need to make a phone call to the clerk’s office or do an online-check to determine this.

College students are among those who would most benefit. They would be able to register with a current valid student photo i.d. containing the student’s valid address within the specific precinct at which he/she appears.

The voting registration process would piggy-back on the SOS’s online voter registration system, which allows anyone to register with a NM driver’s license, plus the date-of-birth and Social Security number matching the same information in the state’s MVD database. The online system has also proved handy for those who need to update their registration after a change of address.

The online system prevents voter fraud because the prospective voter’s ability to present three valid numbers (NM i.d., SSN & DOB) verifies identity. For same day registration, the photo i.d. is matched to a document such as a utility bill that verifies address. 

One thing that the Election Day and Early Voting Site Registration does not allow is to change one’s party affiliation at the voting sites.

The system would require a consistent Internet connection at polling places, which, in some rural areas, would be one of the few obstacles to implementation. Fiscal implications are quite low, given the prospect of increasing voter participation by an estimated five percent. County clerks would need an extra person at election sites to be in charge of on-site registrations.

House Bill 86 has already passed its first hurdle, receiving a positive recommendation and vote from its first committee assignment and is now moving on to the second committee for a hearing.

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