SENATE BILL 175
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
RELATING TO ELECTIONS; ALLOWING VOTERS TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION OF A MAJOR POLITICAL PARTY OF THEIR CHOOSING WITHOUT REGARD TO PARTY AFFILIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 1-6-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 130, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-6-4. MAILED BALLOT APPLICATION.--
A. In a statewide election, application by a voter for a mailed ballot shall be made only on a paper form or its online equivalent. The form shall identify the applicant and contain information to establish the applicant's qualification for issuance of a mailed ballot under the Absent Voter Act; provided that only on the application form for a primary election ballot there shall be a box, space or place provided for [designation of the voter's political party affiliation] the voter to indicate which political party's ballot the voter is requesting for the primary election.
B. Each application on a paper form for a mailed ballot shall be signed by the applicant and shall require the applicant's printed name, registration address and year of birth to be supplied by the applicant, which shall constitute the required form of identification. When submitted by the voter, the county clerk shall accept an application for a mailed ballot pursuant to this subsection regardless of whether the application for a mailed ballot is delivered to the county clerk on paper or by electronic means. When submitted by a third party, the county clerk shall not accept an application for a mailed ballot pursuant to this subsection if the application for a mailed ballot is delivered by electronic means.
C. The secretary of state shall allow a voter to submit an online application for a mailed ballot through a website authorized by the secretary of state; provided that the voter shall have a current or expired New Mexico driver's license or state identification card issued by the motor vehicle division of the taxation and revenue department. An online request for a mailed ballot shall contain all of the information that is required for a paper form. The voter shall also provide the person's full New Mexico driver's license number or state identification card number.
D. When a voter requests a mailed ballot pursuant to this section, the voter shall mark the box associated with the following statement, which shall be included as part of the online mailed ballot request form:
"By clicking the boxes below, I swear or affirm all of the following:
[ ] I am the person whose name and identifying information is provided on this form and I desire to request a mailed ballot to vote in the state of New Mexico; and
[ ] All of the information that I have provided on this form is true and correct as of the date I am submitting this form.".
E. Online applications for mailed ballots shall retain the dates of submission by the qualified elector and of acceptance by the county clerk. For purposes of deadlines contained in the Election Code, the time and date of the submission by the voter shall be considered the time and date when the application for a mailed ballot is received by the county clerk.
F. New registrants who registered for the first time in this state by mail and at that time did not provide acceptable documentary identification as required by federal law shall be informed of the need to comply with federal identification requirements when returning the requested ballot. The secretary of state shall issue rules to exempt voters from submitting identification only as required by federal law and shall review and, if necessary, update these rules no later than March 15 of even-numbered years.
G. A person who willfully and with knowledge and intent to deceive or mislead any voter, election board, canvassing board, county clerk or other election official and who falsifies any information on an absentee ballot request form or who affixes a signature or mark other than the person's own on a mailed ballot request form is guilty of a fourth degree felony."
SECTION 2. Section 1-6-8 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 134, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-6-8. MAILED BALLOT ENVELOPES.--
A. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of, procure and distribute to each county clerk a supply of:
(1) official inner envelopes for use in sealing the completed mailed ballot;
(2) official mailing envelopes for use in returning the official inner envelope to the county clerk, which shall be postage-paid; provided that only the official mailing envelope for absentee ballots in a political party primary shall contain a designation of [party affiliation] the political party ballot voted;
(3) mailed ballot instructions, describing proper methods for completion of the ballot and returning it; and
(4) official transmittal envelopes for use by the county clerk in sending mailed ballot materials.
B. Official transmittal envelopes and official mailing envelopes for transmission of mailed ballot materials to and from the county clerk and voters shall be printed in black in substantially similar form. All official inner envelopes shall be printed in black.
C. The reverse of each official mailing envelope shall contain a form to be executed by the voter completing the mailed ballot. The form shall identify the voter and shall contain the following statement: "I have not and will not vote any other ballot in this election". The official mailing envelope shall contain a space for the voter to record the voter's name, registration address and year of birth. The envelope shall have a security flap to cover this information."
SECTION 3. Section 1-6-22.1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2009, Chapter 251, Section 1 and Laws 2009, Chapter 274, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-6-22.1. MAIL BALLOT ELECTION PRECINCT--ABSENTEE VOTING IN LIEU OF POLLING PLACE.--
A. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 1-1-11 and 1-1-12 NMSA 1978, not later than the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year, a board of county commissioners may designate a precinct as a mail ballot election precinct if, upon a written request of the county clerk, it finds that the precinct has fewer than one hundred voters and the nearest polling place for an adjoining precinct is more than twenty miles driving distance from the boundary for the precinct in question.
B. If a precinct is designated a mail ballot election precinct, in addition to the notice required pursuant to Section 1-3-8 NMSA 1978, the county clerk shall notify by mail with delivery confirmation all voters in that precinct at least forty-two days before an election that each voter will be sent an absentee ballot twenty-eight days before the election and that there will be no polling place for the precinct on election day. The county clerk shall include in the notice a card informing the voter that if the voter does not want to receive an absentee ballot for that election, the voter should return the card before the date the county clerk is scheduled to mail out absentee ballots. The notice shall also inform the voter that a voting system equipped for persons with disabilities will be available at all early voting sites before election day and in the office of the county clerk on election day in case the voter prefers to vote in person and not by mail. In addition, the notice shall inform the voter if the county is consolidating precincts on election day and, if so, the ability of the voter to cast a ballot at any consolidated precinct on election day if the voter chooses not to receive an absentee ballot, or to cast a provisional ballot at any consolidated precinct if the voter does not receive an absentee ballot, which will be counted upon confirmation that the voter has not returned the absentee ballot.
C. For a primary election, the card sent to voters shall require voters to return the card and indicate which major political party's ballot they choose for that primary election.
[C.] D. The county clerk shall mail each voter in the mail ballot election precinct an absentee ballot on the twenty-eighth day before an election, unless the voter has requested otherwise or does not return the card required by
Subsection C of this section indicating which party ballot the voter chooses for that primary election, along with a notice that there will be no polling place in that precinct on election day.
[D.] E. The county clerk shall keep a sufficient number of ballots from a mail ballot election precinct such that a voter from that precinct may vote on a replacement or provisional paper ballot pursuant to Section 1-6-16 NMSA 1978 or on an emergency paper ballot pursuant to Section 1-6-16.2 NMSA 1978."
SECTION 4. Section 1-6B-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2015, Chapter 145, Section 28, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-6B-4. ROLE OF SECRETARY OF STATE--FEDERAL UNIFORMED AND OVERSEAS CITIZENS ABSENTEE VOTING ACT.--
A. The secretary of state shall make available to federal qualified electors information regarding voter registration procedures for federal qualified electors and procedures for casting military-overseas ballots.
B. The secretary of state shall maintain a web page dedicated to federal qualified electors. The dedicated web page shall be accessible from international internet connections and may be segregated from the main website for the office of the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall establish an electronic transmission system through which a federal qualified elector may apply for and receive voter registration materials, military-overseas ballots and other information pursuant to the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act. The secretary of state shall ensure that the electronic transmission system is capable of accepting a federal postcard application, any other approved electronic registration application and any other approved electronic military-overseas ballot application sent to a county clerk.
C. Official transmittal envelopes and official mailing envelopes for transmission of mailed ballot materials to and from federal qualified electors shall be in the same form as those used in the jurisdiction where the voter is registered except as modified to comply with the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act or federal law. The secretary of state may, to the extent reasonably possible, coordinate with other states to develop standardized materials for voting by mail, including privacy and transmission envelopes and their electronic equivalents, authentication materials and voting instructions, to be used with the military-overseas ballot of a voter authorized to vote in any jurisdiction in this state.
D. The secretary of state shall prescribe the form and content of a declaration for use by a federal qualified elector to swear or affirm specific representations pertaining to the voter's identity, eligibility to vote, status as a federal qualified elector and timely and proper completion of a military-overseas ballot. The declaration shall be based on the declaration prescribed to accompany a federal write-in absentee ballot, as modified to be consistent with the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act. The secretary of state shall ensure that a form for the execution of the declaration, including an indication of the date of execution of the declaration, is a prominent part of all balloting materials for which the declaration is required.
E. The secretary of state shall prescribe to the county clerk the form of and distribute to each county clerk a supply of:
(1) official inner envelopes for use in sealing the completed mailed ballot;
(2) official mailing envelopes for use in returning the official inner envelope to the county clerk, which shall be postage-paid within the United States postal system; provided that only the official mailing envelope for mailed ballots in a political party primary shall contain a designation of [party affiliation] the political party ballot voted;
(3) mailed ballot instructions describing the proper methods for completion and return of the ballot, including instructions for those federal qualified electors returning a ballot electronically;
(4) official transmittal envelopes for use by the county clerk in mailing ballot materials; and
(5) official holding envelopes for ballots returned electronically by federal qualified electors."
SECTION 5. Section 1-12-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 246, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-12-7. CONDUCT OF ELECTION--PERSONS NOT PERMITTED TO VOTE--PERSONS PERMITTED TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES OF ANY PARTY.--
A. A person shall not vote in a primary, general or statewide special election unless [he] the person is a voter of the county in which [he] the person offers to vote. A valid original certificate of registration in the county register is prima facie evidence of being a voter in the precinct.
[B. A person whose major party affiliation is not designated on his original certificate of registration shall not vote in a primary election.
C. A person at a primary election shall not be permitted to vote for the candidate of any party other than the party designated on his current certificate of registration.]
B. A voter, regardless of whether the voter is affiliated or not affiliated with a political party on the voter's certificate of voter registration, may vote in the primary election of a major political party by requesting a major political party's primary election ballot and shall be permitted to vote for the candidates on that party's ballot; provided that the voter may vote in only one major political party's primary election."
SECTION 6. Section 1-12-7.1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 112, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-12-7.1. VOTER LISTS--SIGNATURE ROSTERS--CHECKLIST OF VOTERS--USE DURING ELECTION.--
A. At each election day polling location, other than a consolidated precinct where any voter in the county may vote, the precinct board shall post securely at or near the entrance of the polling place one copy of an alphabetical list of voters and a map of the precincts represented in that polling place for use of the voters prior to voting. The posted copy shall not contain a listing of voter addresses, years, months or days of birth or social security numbers.
B. At each polling location where physical rosters are used, the presiding judge of the precinct board shall assign one judge or election clerk of the board to be in charge of one copy of the checklist of voters, which shall be used to confirm the registration and voting of each person offering to vote.
C. The presiding judge of the precinct board shall assign one judge or election clerk to be in charge of the signature roster.
D. The judge or election clerk assigned to confirm registration shall determine that each person offering to vote is registered [and, in the case of a primary election, that the voter is registered in a party designated on the primary election ballot]. If the person's registration is confirmed and the voter provides the required voter identification, the judge or election clerk shall announce to the judges or election clerks the list number and the name of the voter as shown on the checklist of voters. If the voter does not provide the required voter identification, the voter shall be allowed to vote on a provisional paper ballot and shall provide the required voter identification to the county clerk's office before 5:00 p.m. on the second day following the election, or to the precinct board before the polls close, or the voter's provisional ballot shall not be qualified. If the required voter identification is provided, the voter's provisional paper ballot shall be qualified and the voter shall not vote on any other type of ballot.
E. The judge or election clerk shall locate the name on the signature roster and shall require the voter to sign the voter's usual signature or, if unable to write, to make the voter's mark opposite the voter's printed name. If the voter makes the voter's mark, it shall be witnessed by one of the judges or election clerks of the precinct board.
F. If the signature roster indicates that the voter is required to present a physical form of identification before voting, the judge or election clerk shall ask the voter for the required physical form of identification. If the voter does not provide the required identification, the voter shall be allowed to vote on a provisional paper ballot; provided, however, that if the voter brings the required physical form of identification to the polling place after casting a provisional paper ballot, that ballot shall be qualified.
G. The judge or election clerk shall follow the procedures provided for in Sections 1-12-7.2 and 1-12-8 NMSA 1978 if a person whose name does not appear on the signature roster requests to vote or a person is required to vote on a provisional paper ballot.
H. A voter shall not be permitted to vote until the voter has properly signed the voter's usual signature or made the voter's mark in the signature roster."
SECTION 7. Section 1-12-7.2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 114, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-12-7.2. VOTER WHOSE NAME IS NOT ON LIST OR ROSTER.--
A. A voter whose name does not appear on the voter list and signature roster for the precinct in which the voter offers to vote shall be permitted to vote in the precinct pursuant to the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Section 1-12-8 NMSA 1978.
B. The judges or election clerks in charge of the signature rosters shall add the voter's name and address in ink to the signature roster on the line immediately following the last entered voter's name, and the voter shall be allowed to sign an affidavit of eligibility and cast a provisional paper ballot; provided that the voter has first signed or marked both the signature roster and checklist of registered voters.
C. The provisional paper ballot tracking number for the voter shall be entered on the affidavit of eligibility, the signature roster and the checklist of registered voters.
D. [In a primary election, a voter shall not be permitted to vote for a candidate of a party different from the party designation shown on the voter's certificate of registration. Upon making that determination] The county clerk shall transmit the ballot to the county canvassing board to be tallied and included in the canvass of that county for the appropriate precinct."
SECTION 8. Section 1-12-20 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1969, Chapter 240, Section 273, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-12-20. CONDUCT OF ELECTION--INTERPOSING CHALLENGES.--A challenge may be interposed by a member of the precinct board or by a party challenger for the following reasons:
A. the person offering to vote is not registered to vote;
B. the person offering to vote is listed among those persons to whom an absentee ballot was mailed;
C. the person offering to vote has already cast a ballot in that election; or
D. the person offering to vote is improperly registered because the person is not a qualified elector [or
E. in the case of a primary election, the person desiring to vote is not affiliated with a political party represented on the ballot]."
SECTION 9. Section 1-15A-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1977, Chapter 230, Section 2, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-15A-2. VOTING IN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY--DATE OF ELECTION.--
A. In the year in which the president and vice president of the United States are to be elected, the registered voters of this state shall be given an opportunity to express their preference for the person to be the presidential candidate [of their party] in [either] a presidential primary election [or in accordance with the selection procedure for presidential candidates of each voter's party]. The presidential primary election shall be held on the same date as the primary election is held in this state.
B. A voter may vote in a presidential primary election of only one of the major political parties participating in the primary election in accordance with the provisions of Section 1-12-7 NMSA 1978."
SECTION 10. Section 1-15A-8 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1977, Chapter 230, Section 7, as amended) is amended to read:
"1-15A-8. VOTING IN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY--BALLOT POSITION.--
A. All candidates in the presidential primary shall appear with the candidates for other offices of their respective parties at an appropriate place on the ballot. Candidates who are nominated by committee and by petition election shall be placed first as a group on the presidential primary ballot with each candidate's respective position in that group determined by the provisions of [the Ballot Positioning Act] Section 1-10-8.1 NMSA 1978. The ballot position for the uncommitted category shall be placed last on the presidential primary ballot.
B. The voter shall be able to cast [his] a ballot for one of the presidential candidates [of his party] or for an uncommitted delegation. A vote of the latter kind shall express the preference for an uncommitted delegation from New Mexico to the national convention of [that voter's] the party for which the voter chooses to vote."
SECTION 11. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2023.
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