NM Introduces Voter ID Bill

The New Mexico legislature has introduced a voter ID bill. Both the newly elected Governor Susana Martinez and newly elected GOP Secretary of State Dianna Duran supported voter ID during their general election campaigns.  The new bill, which can be downloaded here, seems inconsistent.  New Mexico’s current law requires that all in-person voters provide their name, address and birth year before they are allowed to vote or choose another option such as presenting a driver’s license, utility bill or voter registration card, which is sent to all voters by the Secretary of State.  Mike, Thad, and I along with Lisa Bryant (PhD candidate at UNM) and Kyle Saunders (Associate Professor at Colorado State University) have written on New Mexico’s law and its inconsistent application across and within precincts (see Electoral Studies 29(1):66-73).  But, the new law, at least as I read it, would require that all in-person voters show a state or tribal issued identification card to vote, but if they didn’t have one, it would allow voters to simply supply their year of birth and if it matches what’s on the voter rolls they would be allowed to vote. Also, the bill doesn’t address absentee voting at all, which voters in NM agree is the most likely place for fraud to occur. Our 2010 statewide voter survey results indicate that 66% of voters think it is a problem that absentee voters do not have any authentication process and 65% think that if voting fraud occurs at all it is more likely to take place in absentee voting than in in-person voting (12%) with the remaining 23% saying they don’t know.