NM Ranks 48th in Motor Voter Act Compliance

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Our Secretary of State Dianna Duran has come under repeated criticism over the course of her tenure for a number of shady efforts to suppress voting rightspurge eligible voters, change election rules, and deny voters non-partisan electoral information. (This is all in addition to her crusade to pass mandatory photo voter ID legislation that would make it harder to vote for tens of thousands of New Mexicans, mostly seniors, young people, and military veterans.)

Duran’s office is also out of compliance with New Mexico’s “Motor Voter” program — a program that’s supposed to allow New Mexicans to complete/update their voter registration when they apply for or renew their licenses. We’ve previously reported on Secretary Duran’s failure to properly oversee this program and the jeopardy in which that failure placed thousands of voter registrations. Here’s some background from our report:

After voting rights groups filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the state for failing to comply with federal voting rights laws, the state entered into a settlement agreement allowing New Mexicans to complete voter registration when they apply for or renew their licenses.  The requirement, known as “motor voter,” is a component of the National Voting Rights Act.

The secretary of state was required under the agreement to oversee NVRA compliance, including those processed at MVDs. The agreement is set to expire next month if all requirements, including letting drivers register to vote simultaneously with an application for a license, are met.

An investigation by ProgressNow New Mexico has learned that instead of permitting drivers to register to vote instantaneously when they request a license, voters are left on their own to complete the process at a later time thus violating the USDOJ agreement and state law.

Now, a new report has New Mexico ranked 48th on a list of which states are most Motor Voter Act Compliant. From the Demos report:

Driving the Vote-Figure1


Using the DMV voter registration ratio, we grouped the states into Motor Voter Groups in the 2011 to 2012 time period. States in the highest group reported receiving three or more voter registration applications through the DMV for every ten DMV transactions while states in the lowest performing group reported just one or fewer voter registration applications for every ten DMV transactions (see Table 1). The states in the lowest performing Motor Voter Group, and many of the states in the middle performing Motor Voter Group raise concerns that they may be out of compliance with Section 5 of the NVRA and, thus, may be good targets for further investigation. Conversely, states in the high Motor Voter Group may bear further analysis as a means of identifying particularly effective Motor Voter implementation mechanisms.