From New Mexico House Democrats:
SANTA FE – In a huge victory for the voters of New Mexico, a Democratic bill ensuring safe and accessible election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic this November passes the House.
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.
Senate Bill 4 provides county clerks the option to mail ballot applications to registered voters – a proven method to increase voter participation – in addition to the currently used in-person voting convenience centers and election day polling locations. Currently two states provide a county option for casting votes by mail.
“Despite the pandemic, we’re safeguarding our democracy by making it easier than ever for New Mexico’s voters to cast their ballots in November,” said Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe). “The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges, but voting should not be one of them. This bill is the culmination of a lot of work between many stakeholders and we should all be proud that our right to vote is going to be safeguarded.”
Senate Bill 4 also responds to the hurdles of holding elections in an ongoing pandemic, containing 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 will also provide polling locations within hard-hit tribal nations and pueblos – an issue area that has been a point of contention in past elections.
Senate Bill 4 also adds intelligent barcodes to ballots for better tracking, and allows additional time before an election to request an absentee ballot, and more explicit instruction on mail-in deadlines. These measures expire after the 2020 general election.
New Mexico House Democrats believe voting should be safe, easy and accessible. Senate Bill 4 is a big step in achieving our goal of removing all obstacles between New Mexicans and their right to vote. Senate Bill 4 passed the House in a 44-26 vote, and now goes to the Governor’s desk.