Why would elected officials want to stop people from voting? In (the Feb. 2) RDR the lead story is that Rep. Greg Nibert and Chaves County Clerk Dave Kunko oppose HB 86 allowing same-day registration for qualified New Mexico voters.
Those voters would not be able to change their party affiliation for a primary, so the parties should have no problems with this.
Rep. Nibert says he thinks unqualified people will vote, but people registering must meet the same standards under HB 86 that they meet now in order to register. Rep. Nibert also said Texans would come to New Mexico, register, and vote in New Mexico.
But statistics show that Americans are too lazy to vote even when they have weeks to find a time to do so and there are Voting Convenience Centers readily available. I find it hard to believe Texans would travel many miles, obtain valid proof of residency, get a picture ID, all just to vote in New Mexico.
Mr. Kunko is concerned about the cost of same-day registration.
I saw it in action this last election. I was a poll watcher at the Mall Voting Convenience Center (VCC). Many people who presented themselves to vote were found to have incomplete or inaccurate information on file. A member of the VCC Panel helped them fill out a new registration form then and there — there is already a person on the election panel who can handle that.
There were computers in place, hooked up to the clerk’s office.
The only extra thing that would have to happen is for that polling place person to hop on one of those computers, check any other registrations, register the voter and issue a ballot.
I am sure a procedure will be developed for that process.
I saw a good example of why we need same-day registration while I was poll watching. A young woman came in who had recently moved here from Las Cruces. She had neglected to request an absentee ballot in all the fuss of moving. She was turned away from the polls and not allowed to vote. How simple would it have been to check her Doña Ana County registration, change the address, and allow her to vote?
We always say we want Americans to exercise their right and privilege to vote. Same-day voter registration has been shown to increase voter turnout. Let’s do it!