SANTA FE – At 10:30 p.m. Monday, the New Mexico House took up debate on the highly contentious House Bill 340, the voter identification bill sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Eddy.
Proponents of the bill argued that a majority of New Mexicans supported measures to show photo identification when casting a vote in future elections.
Rep. Cathrynn Brown
Opponents of the bill argued HB 340 would guarantee 3-5 percent of legitimate voters would become ineligible and unfairly marginalize veterans, minorities, young voters and people with disabilities.
During the debate legislators called for a fair compromise, Democratic Leader Brian Egolf offered up a different voter identification bill (HB 61) sponsored by Republican Committee Chair James Smith, R-Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe, in a substitute that was narrowly defeated 36-34. At 1:40 a.m. today, the New Mexico House voted along party lines (37-29) to pass HB 340.
Republican Committee Chair James Smith
“HB 340 is a demonstrative bill that will negate thousands of New Mexican’s right to vote and place unfair burdens on our most vulnerable and disenfranchised populations,” said Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe. “There is only one piece of legislation this session that fairly and adequately address voter ID, House Bill 61 by Rep. James Smith, which we attempted to pass last night in lieu of HB 340. At the end of the day, there is good and bad public policy and this is one of the worst and most invasive policies attempted this session.”