54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019


Christine Chandler









     WHEREAS, since its founding, the United States has been guided by the democratic principle of a government of the people, by the people and for the people; and

     WHEREAS, the United States is a representative democracy where not only does every vote count, but every vote matters; and

     WHEREAS, the fundamental right to vote is the ability to hold elected representatives accountable; and

     WHEREAS, yet only about fifty-eight percent of eligible Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to the United States election project; and

     WHEREAS, local governments looking for ways to increase voter participation are considering changes such as conducting elections by mail; and

     WHEREAS, at least twenty-two states have provisions allowing certain elections to be conducted entirely by mail; and

     WHEREAS, as of January 2017, three of those twenty-two states — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — held all elections entirely by mail; and

     WHEREAS, other states permit all-mail elections in certain circumstances, such as for special districts, municipal elections or when candidates are unopposed; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico requires local governments to hold all special elections for bonds or other tax proposals by mail; and

     WHEREAS, a study published in 2017 by the United States election assistance commission found that voting by mail increased turnout in local special elections by an average of seven and six-tenths percent; and

     WHEREAS, getting off of work when polls are open or getting to a polling place for people living in very rural areas of New Mexico are barriers to voting that can be remedied by all-mail elections; and

     WHEREAS, possible advantages of all-mail elections include voter convenience and satisfaction, financial savings, increased turnout and improvement of election reliability; and

     WHEREAS, possible drawbacks of all-mail elections include lost ballots, heightened concerns about voter fraud, loss of the level of voter confidence inherent in polling place voting and reliance on the United States postal service; and

     WHEREAS, voters must believe that the process is transparent, accessible and accurate for all-mail elections to be successful; and

     WHEREAS, a study of the costs and benefits of all-mail elections would provide valuable information about possible direct cost savings, voter participation, the possibility of voter fraud and cost savings from eliminating staff at polling places on election days; and

     WHEREAS, the effects of all-mail elections on New Mexico's Native American population would need to be considered;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the secretary of state be requested to study the feasibility of all-mail elections for New Mexico; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a cost-benefit analysis be made to consider the pros and cons of holding all-mail elections; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that states that have successfully implemented all-mail elections be studied as possible models for implementation in New Mexico; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that effects of all-mail elections on New Mexico's Native American population be addressed in the study; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the secretary of state be requested to report findings and recommendations to the appropriate interim legislative committee by December 1, 2019; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the secretary of state.

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