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Letter: Technology must improve for same-day registration

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Ms. Wells: Neither I, nor any representative here in Santa Fe, wants to stop, deter or prevent people who are qualified electors from voting. We want every person who is eligible to vote to cast their ballot. We work too hard to get the vote out … and are disappointed so many of our fellow citizens do not participate in the election. …

I will tell you why I cannot support HB 86 at this time.

The testimony of the secretary of state was that the current data available to her office and the county clerk’s offices does not allow immediate access to Texas (and some other states’) voting records. That is why the Texas voting concerns were raised. There was other testimony that a number of Texas residents were encouraged to register and vote in Sunland Park a few years ago, and a number of people were prosecuted for voter fraud. So it is a real concern, not a hypothetical, and it does not involve traveling “many miles” — just a few blocks in some instances.

Although the secretary of state did state her office could handle same day voter registration and supported HB 86, she did admit that it would require additional resources at the county level. The clerks, by an overwhelming majority (one voted to support HB 86, the others voting voted NOT to support HB 86) … expressed their concerns.

Among the county clerks’ concerns were, it is an unfunded mandate requiring the counties to pay for the hardware and software upgrades that would be necessary and would have to hire additional personnel on election day at each voting site to accommodate the same day registration procedures. I found their concerns valid.

Until we have in place a system that can automatically determine that the person who wants to register on election day is a qualified elector in the county he or she wishes to register and it can be determined that person has not already voted in this state or elsewhere in that election, I will oppose same day registration. When the technology allows us to accomplish that I will support same day registration and will do what I can to make sure it is adequately funded so the state does not put these additional costs on each county.

At that time I join you in “Let’s do it!”

Dist. 59 State Rep. Greg Nibert

Editor’s note: Flo Wells’ letter on HB 86 was published Feb. 5. The Daily Record’s story on the bill was published Feb 2.