Tuesday, January 15, 2013
As the 2013 Legislative session begins Jan. 15, County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is gearing up to advocate for various pieces of legislation aimed at modernizing elections in New Mexico.
“While the 2012 Election cycle was very successful in Bernalillo County and in most places across the state, a number of outdated and antiquated processes keep us from achieving higher levels of voter participation and election integrity. I am going to be spending a lot of time in Santa Fe over the next 60 days working with our legislators to encourage their support of a variety of election modernization bills,” Clerk Toulouse Oliver stated.
Toulouse Oliver points to the approximately 2,700 provisional ballots cast in the 2012 General Election in Bernalillo County, about 75 percent of which were rejected due to a lack of voter registration, as an example of a failure of the voter registration system.
“Almost two thousand people tried to vote in the 2012 General Election in Bernalillo County and couldn’t because they weren’t registered. In many of these cases, voters thought they had registered when they’d applied for their drivers’ license or through other third-party agents but those registrations never made it to our office. It’s time to automate these processes and get away from the antiquated paper-based system we’ve been using for so long,” said the Clerk.
Toulouse Oliver will be urging the legislature to support automation of the MVD voter registration process, which is required by federal law. Making the process electronic and automatic “just makes sense,” says Clerk Toulouse Oliver. She will also advocate for an online voter registration system, similar to that utilized successfully in Arizona, California and Washington State.
Other election-related bills the County Clerk will be advocating include pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and an election code clean-up bill sponsored by the state County Clerks affiliate.
Beyond helping more voters get on the registration rolls, the legislation supported by the County Clerk will also help ensure voters’ records are more up-to-date, which will lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings for conducting elections across the state. Automation of the voter registration process can also help increase election integrity by giving election officials tools they can use to remove ineligible voters from the books and to greatly reduce errors and duplicates within the voter file.
Back to news list