New Mexico Updates Motor Voter System

Voter registration at motor vehicle agency branch offices is one of the most common avenues for citizens to interact with the election system. State driver’s licensing administrators and election officials across the country are beginning to upgrade these “Motor Voter” systems to ensure that all eligible citizens can register to vote or update their information at motor vehicle agencies efficiently, without the burden and unreliability of paper forms. For instance, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division recently revamped its Motor Voter process to improve the customer experience and the accuracy of registration lists.

electronic signature pad for voting© Raul Alvarez, New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division

Signature pad used for voter registration.

New Mexico’s new system seamlessly integrates the voter registration transaction with the driver’s licensing process. It allows voters to enter or confirm most of their information, rather than relying on clerks. Signature pads at each clerk’s desk guide applicants through voter registration and licensing. The screens are large enough to display full questions with corresponding answer options and can capture a full signature.

The new system links directly to the state’s voter registration database to determine whether the applicant is a first-time registrant or an existing voter who may need to update information. This helps the clerks to ask the appropriate questions to assist applicants in completing the right transactions for their needs. The system is also able to instantly verify addresses and format them according to U.S. Postal Service standards, ensuring consistency and reducing errors.

New Mexico is following the lead of other states that are improving the Motor Voter process. Delaware, for example, automated its system, reduced transaction times by 67 percent, from 90 seconds to 30 seconds, and is saving approximately $50,000 per year.

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Kelly Hoffman