SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A statewide holiday on Election Day to encourage voting. Automated restoration of voting rights for ex-convicts. More time to distribute and count absentee ballots.
Democratic lawmakers have a lengthy wish list in New Mexico as they seek to expand access to voting.
New Mexico’s first and only Black state senator, Harold Pope of Albuquerque, is cosponsoring the legislation with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth of Santa Fe, during the fast-paced legislative session that started Jan. 18 and ends on Feb. 17.
Here are the key changes sought by Democrats and counterpoints from opponents.
More ballots were cast than ever before across New Mexico in the 2020 general election as voters backed President Joe Biden and a Republican challenger flipped a congressional seat in southern New Mexico.
State Democrats including Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver want to increasing voter access by turning Election Day into a state holiday, closing public schools and nonessential government offices for the day.
A monthlong period for early, in-person voting would be extended to the Sunday before elections, when many people are free of work and chores. Early voting currently begins at county clerks’ offices four weeks ahead of elections, and is expanded three Saturdays before those elections to large-scale voting centers.
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