Elections bill moves through second Senate committee but with changes

By: - February 9, 2022 6:00 pm

Activists attend a Voting Rights Amendment Act rally in Capitol Hill June 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. The rally marked the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder which held a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.)

Another committee and another change to a major proposal seeking to expand and offer voting protections in New Mexico. 

Senate Bill 8 was passed by the Judiciary Committee on a 5-3 party line vote on Wednesday, but without the effort to register people to vote when they finish a transaction at the Motor Vehicle Division or other state offices.

Can voting rights and elections bills race through the rest of the session?

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) is taking out provisions in the bill as it moves through committee to attempt bipartisan support. He is the sponsor of another elections bill that will codify protections for voters that is not competing against SB 8 but does have nearly unanimous support by the Legislature.

During Wednesday’s committee hearing, he sponsored the amendment that takes out the voter registration proposal. In a previous committee, he also successfully removed a proposal that would have given 16-year-olds the right to vote in local elections. 

Despite the delays in moving the bill, Ivey-Soto is confident SB8 will reach the governor’s desk. 

After a long day of debate, state senators opt to take up voting rights this week

“We got plenty of time to get it through,” he said. “It’ll be tight, but we got plenty of time to do it.”:

The bill still has a ways to go as it now heads to the Senate Finance committee before it can get a full vote on the floor. If passed, it would then have to move in the House before the 30-day Legislature ends on Feb. 17. 

Significant changes to how the state runs elections remain in the bill. An effort to create a permanent absentee ballot voter list, creating easier pathways to voter registration for people released from prison, and making the election day a school holiday are still in the bill.

The amended bill will be posted on the Legislature’s website at some point. In the meantime, you can view it below.

SB8 amended version

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Shaun Griswold
Shaun Griswold

Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and his ancestry also includes Jemez and Zuni on the maternal side of his family. He grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.