Democrats are planning on resurrecting the failed bill they tried to pass in the last legislative session that was filibustered down by Republicans in the final hours. Sen. Bill Sharer (R-Farmington) spoke for hours on the final day of the 2022 Legislative Session, successfully blocking the legislation.
The previous piece of legislation, 2022’s H.B. 144, included ballot harvesting, unsecured ballot drop boxes for ballot stuffing, and automatic voter registration, among other measures to make New Mexico elections less secure.
The bill started out as a two-page simple elections bill but was amended by Democrats in the final hours to add hundreds of pages of regulations that made New Mexico elections extremely at risk of more fraud.
Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “This legislation, I think, is even better because it has really been spearheaded and brought to life by the advocacy community [that wants] to continue to sort of pick up the ball and continue to move it forward on advancing voting rights here in New Mexico.”
According to the report, “The new chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, is one of the sponsors of the voting rights legislation, along with Martínez and House Majority Leader Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque.”
Duhigg claimed the bill will “protect the health of our democracy by helping ensure that here in New Mexico every eligible voter has access to the ballot and that every vote is freely cast and fairly counted.”
Republican Senate Leader Greg Baca of Belen said, “Last year, we followed the lead of our County Clerks and unanimously passed a bipartisan election bill out of the Senate that strengthened voter rights and improved election security,” but it was hijacked by the Democrat majority.
It is unclear if the bill will pass this legislative session, but if it does, it should expect roadblocks in the state Senate and the House from Republicans opposed to making it hard to cheat in elections.