By Roz Brown
The League of Women Voters of New México is confident new voter registrations will increase after the state saw an almost 80% registration decline in April compared with the same month four years ago.
Voter Services chair Diane Goldfarb said the nonpartisan group works to register voters and provide them with election information, though that’s been nearly impossible this year because the pandemic eliminated rallies and public events typically used for such purposes.
“They just aren’t going on the way they usually are, so we’re going to have to work very hard at getting the word out about how easily people can go online and register to vote,” Goldfarb said.
Photo: TCF/The Weekly Issue/El Semanario
Oct. 20 is the last date absentee-ballot requests can be received by county clerks in New México.
In June, the New México Legislature adopted temporary rules that changed ballot-request deadlines, added a new signature requirement and is allowing ballot tracking by postal bar codes.
As a result, voter turnout for the June primary climbed to about 40% of eligible voters, the highest level for a primary in the state since the early 1990s.
Back in April 2016, more than 8,000 individuals registered to vote, while only 1,600 people registered to vote during April of this year, according to the Civics Center, a civic-engagement advocacy organization.
“Sept. 14, they’re going to start mailing out these absentee-ballot applications. And then on Oct. 6, the absentee ballots themselves will be mailed out,” said Goldfarb. “And beginning of October, people can go to their county clerk’s office and vote in person.”
Because it’s a largely rural state, some in New Mexico are worried new policies introduced by the United States Postal Service could slow delivery of the mail, including ballots. New México requires that all absentee or mail ballots be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
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