On April 10, Governor Susana Martinez (R) signed into law S.B. 643, a 135-page election bill passed unanimously by the House and Senate, which will make significant changes to the elections process in New Mexico. The legislation includes:
- Allowing voters to register or update their voter registration status online. The system for updating registrations must launch by January 2016 and be expanded to full online voter registration by January 2017.
- Authorizing the state to join data exchange programs such as the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to help keep the voter rolls more accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive.
- Consolidating and clarifying voting options for military and overseas citizens under a single Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act section of the Elections Code.
- Ensuring that first responders who may be out-of-state on Election Day can easily submit an absentee ballot.
With this legislation, New Mexico becomes the 26th state to allow online voter registration. (Twenty states already offer it, and six others and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to provide it.) Online registration is on a number of state legislative agendas this year, and systems are being built in several other states.
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