In a move reminiscent of a Walking Dead episode, a previously dead voter automatic voter registration bill came back to live in a House Committee Tuesday, then passed and walked out of committee headed to the House Floor for full consideration.
Democrats Debbie Rodella (D-Española) and Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) took heat earlier in the week when they voted with Republicans against a previous version of the bill in theHouse Local Government, Elections and Land Grant Committee.
But Ely told reporters and Facebook followers that his vote against the bill was strategic, not ideological. House rules only allow a member who voted to table (voting to stall a bill in committee) to call it back up for a new vote on another day.
On Tuesday, Ely recalled the bill and allowed the sponsor to introduce new clarifying language, supported by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse, giving persons registering for MVD services the opportunity to opt-in to registering to vote. The previous version did not require MVD to notify persons that they would be registered to vote as well.
The Santa Fe New Mexican and NM Political Report reported that State officials expressed concern that registering voters without notice might prevent new voters from selecting a party of their choice, locking them out of primary elections or other parts of the political process.
House Bill 28 now moves to the House Floor.