Before this year’s midterm elections, which are projected to be extremely difficult for Democrats, Democrats in New Mexico are hurrying to amend the state’s voting regulations.
Among other things, the proposal would lower the voting age to 16 for local elections, increase the use of mail-in ballots, create an option for straight party-line voting on ballots, and remove the prohibition on convicted felons voting, though felons would not be allowed to vote while they are in prison.
Democratic state legislators, led by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are proposing a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s election rules in order to combat what they describe as a “wave of anti-democratic sentiment” throughout the country.
“Protecting voting rights is critical to protecting our democracy and ensuring that the views of New Mexicans are heard,” said Mrs. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is up for reelection this year and is also facing a difficult reelection campaign. New Mexico is taking every step possible to defend and extend voting rights at a time when voting rights are under threat around the nation.
In addition, under Mrs. Lujan Grisham’s plan, persons who do not have a state-issued ID would be able to register to vote online using their Social Security number. Her proposal would also make Election Day a state holiday, which she opposes.
Democratic lawmakers, according to Republicans, are engaging in nothing short of a “power grab.” They claim that Mrs. Lujan Grisham, whose popularity rating has plummeted as a result of anger over coronavirus limitations and sexual harassment allegations, is attempting to modify New Mexico’s election rules in order to benefit Democratic candidates.
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According to state Rep. Rebecca Dow, a Republican member who is spearheading the opposition to the ideas, “the polls are absolutely indicating that this is a majority-minority state where Hispanics are prepared, eager, and ready to vote Republican.” “Democrats are well aware that a Republican wave is on the horizon, and they are doing all they can to thwart it.”
Mrs. Dow and her colleagues cite aspects in the Democratic plan, such as the one allowing for straight-party voting, as evidence of their case. Straight-party voting, which is also used in numerous other states, enables voters to tick a box on their ballot if they wish to support the whole slate of candidates for a single political party.
As Mrs. Dow pointed out, “there has never been a need for such legislation in the past.” “This is a solution in search of an answer,” the author writes.
The battle over New Mexico’s voting laws begins as President Biden’s elections legislation comes to a grinding stop in Congress. Initially, Democrats in Washington hoped to approve a comprehensive rewrite that would overturn new voting regulations enacted by Republican-controlled states. A lack of unity among Senate Democrats ultimately brought to the failure of that initiative.
Democrats in New Mexico argue that the failed federal attempt provides them with even more justification to put through their own ballot initiatives.
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“Even as we’ve seen attempts around the country to make voting more difficult for eligible voters, here in New Mexico we continue to be a leader in how to balance the demands for voter access with the needs of maintaining our high levels of election security,” said Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico’s Democratic secretary of state. “With the passage of this measure, we will have the opportunity to enact one of the most comprehensive voting rights legislations in our state’s history.”
Democrats pushed for the expansion of voting rights before of the 2020 presidential election, claiming that the COVID-19 epidemic necessitated the move.
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