Analysis

Synopsis:

 Senate Bill 14 (SB14) establishes a process for automatic voter registration for those who are considered qualified electors and qualified residents in New Mexico who are eligible to vote. This legislation requires updates to existing registered voters. The Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and other agencies will be required to report citizenship to the Secretary of State in the course of a transaction and requires the opportunity for a person to opt out of automatic voter registration.

Analysis:

 Section 1 is entirely new material outlining the establishment of an automatic voter registration system. If a person is of age to vote or will become of age to vote prior to the next election, MVD will be required to electronically transmit to the Secretary of State (SOS) a record that contains the person's full name, date of birth, driver's license or state-issued identification card number, residence address, mailing address, county of residence, citizenship status, and an electronic image of the person's signature. Once the record is received by the SOS, they shall determine if the person is registered to vote in New Mexico. If the person is eligible to be registered to vote but not yet registered, the SOS shall forward the person's information to the county clerk where the person resides. When forwarded, the county clerk shall accept the information as a voter registration certificate and will inform the voter of their registration. If a person chooses to decline voter registration, they may return a card sent to them by their county clerk to certify that they do not wish to be registered to vote. In addition, this section provides for automatic updates of a person's voter registration when records are forwarded by the MVD.

The section lays out penalties for knowingly and willfully voting if they know they are not eligible to vote as established under Section 1-20-8 NMSA 1978. In addition, the section lays out rulemaking authority for the Secretary of State.

Section 2 inserts language that allows a person to become registered to vote through the automatic voter registration act.

Section 3 requires that a person who wishes to be automatically registered to vote shall provide proof of United States citizenship. However, if proof of citizenship is not established during a qualified transaction, that person may still be provided the opportunity to register to vote or to update an existing registration.

Section 4 changes automatic to agency in the section title.

Section 5 is amended so that when a person presents proof of United States citizenship while applying for a driver's license or ID card in-person that they are automatically registered to vote.

Section 6 requires a county clerk to accept a new voter registration or an updated voter registration under this act on or before the day of the deadline to register to vote.

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