SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a new bill Friday meant to guarantee public health precautions will be in place for all New Mexico voters for the upcoming November elections.
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), establishes clear guidelines for the Secretary of State and county clerks to conduct safe and efficient elections despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to the hurdles of holding elections in an ongoing pandemic, Senate Bill 4 contains provisions that require Personal Protection Equipment for poll workers, requires use of COVID-safe practices, and authorizes the Department of Health Secretary to establish county-specific public health requirements in response to regional public health concerns.
Counties also will provide polling locations within hard-hit tribal nations and pueblos – an issue area that has been a point of contention in past elections.
“It was critical that we respond to the needs of our state in stepping-up with legislation that ensured safe, accessible voting in November’s elections,” Rep. Trujillo said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges, but voting should not be one of them, and this bill represents a huge leap forward for our state to ensure our elections are safeguarded.”
In addition to public health election precautions, Senate Bill 4 provides county clerks the option to mail ballot applications for registered voters to return if they do not wish to vote in-person. Currently, two states provide a county option for casting votes by mail.
Having been signed into law by the Governor, Senate Bill 4 goes into effect immediately.