More than 10,000 New Mexico voters took advantage of same-day voter registration Tuesday during New Mexico’s primary, the first time the state offered same-day voter registration for a statewide election. The change was met with many unfounded claims of voter fraud online.
It used to be that people had to register to vote in an election at least 28 days beforehand, a rule meant to ward off double voting in a paper-filing system, according to The Associated Press. Now, technology takes care of that issue.
The election process uses a statewide database managed by the Secretary of State’s Office to verify voter registration, said Common Cause New Mexico Campaign Director Mario Jimenez. Forms of identification are required to register to vote initially.
“New Mexico continues to be on the forefront of democracy, providing access to its citizens, and making sure they do have the ability to cast the ballot and implementing technologies and resources that we have here in New Mexico, not only to provide that access to but to also safeguard and protect and make sure that we do have integrity within our electoral process as well,” Jimenez said.
In Tuesday’s elections, about 700 more Republicans than Democrats used same-day registration. The initiative for same-day registration was a Democrat-backed effort, and much controversy about it online stems from conservatives worried about elections integrity.
Same-day registration broke down like this:
- 10,038 voters used same-day voter registration, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- 5,225 Republicans.
- 4,521 Democrats.
- 292 Libertarians.
This is not the first time same-day registration has been used in the state.
Last year, the option was approved statewide by a voting certification committee made up of election administrators associated with both parties, Jimenez said. This came after a successful rollout in June 2021 for the special congressional election to replace U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who had been appointed as the Interior Department’s cabinet secretary. Just over 2,000 voters used the same-day registration in the low-turnout election.
Same-day registration will require approval every two years by panels made up of voting system regulators, according to The Associated Press.
People also used the new option to re-register with a major party and then vote in that party’s primary on the same day.
To vote in Tuesday’s primaries, 2,217 voters changed their party affiliation – maybe from having no party affiliation or from a minor to major party, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- 1,145 voters switched to Republican.
- 1,001 voters switched to Democrat.
- 71 voters switched to Libertarian.
In the long run, Jimenez said that he anticipates New Mexico will continue to use same-day registration, which benefits voters. There is an average 5% increase in voter turnout when same-day registration is allowed, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
“Those are 10,000 New Mexico voters who otherwise would not have participated in the election,” Jimenez said. “So, you know, hopefully it’s a win for democracy, and it’s a win for New Mexico.”