This year’s June Primary Election will be the first time New Mexico voters can register to vote on election day itself—and not just weeks in advance. It will also be the first time “decline-to-state” or minor party voters can vote in the partisan primaries—but only if they register as either a Democrat or a Republican prior to casting a ballot. Currently, only voters who are registered with a major party (Democrat, Republican or Libertarian) can vote for a candidate of their own party in the primary election.
“Taken together, these two changes have the potential for increasing the number of people who vote dramatically,” said Mario Jimenez, campaigns director for the non-partisan group Common Cause New Mexico.
There are more than 300,000 voters who decline to state their partisan preference, about 21% of the total electorate. They are commonly referred to as independents. About 14,000 are registered with minor parties.
“We don’t advocate for one party or another, but now these folks can vote, and we encourage them to look into the candidates in their area, especially when the primary actually determines the winner in many areas,” Jimenez said. They can then pick either a Republican, Libertarian or Democratic ballot, whichever appeals to them.
For new voters, and those who become aware of the election late in the game, same-day registration allows them to both register and vote on election day if they have the proper identification. They can also do both at their County Clerk’s office or selected Early Voting Locations during the early voting period. (See below for details.)
Here’s some handy information from the Secretary of State:
Same Day Voter Registration
Any eligible voter in New Mexico can register to vote or update their voter registration and then vote on the same day at their County Clerk’s office starting May 10. They can also register and vote at any polling location in their county on Election Day (June 7) and from May 21-June 4 at participating Early Voting Locations. Contact your County Clerk for participating locations. In Bernalillo County all Early Voting Locations are participating.
In order to use same day registration, voters need to bring:
(1) a New Mexico driver’s license or New Mexico identification card issued through the
Motor Vehicle Division of the Taxation and Revenue Department;
(2) any document that contains an address in the county together with a photo identification card; OR
(3) a current valid student photo identification card from a post-secondary educational
institution in New Mexico accompanied by a current student fee statement that contains the student’s address in the county.
How Decline-to-State and minor party voters can register and vote in the Primary Election
Decline-to-state voters in New Mexico are registered voters who have chosen not to affiliate with a major political party. Minor party voters are registered with political parties that do not have major party status (currently, only Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians are recognized as major parties in New Mexico).
While the general election is open to all registered voters, only voters who are registered with a major party can vote in primary elections in New Mexico. Now, if you are registered as DTS or with a minor party in New Mexico you can vote in the Primary Election. You simply update your registration to one of the major parties, a process that will take from 5-10 minutes. You can then vote in the primary election for whichever party you’ve chosen.
You can do this at any polling place in your county on Election Day or by going to your County Clerk’s office starting May 10 or any participating polling place in your county during early voting from May 21- June 4.
Voters who utilize this option and who then wish to revert back to being DTS or registered with a minor party can update their registration online at NMVOTE.ORG after they’ve voted in the Primary Election.
Same day registration for decline-to-state voters carries the same ID requirements listed above for all newly registered voters and is available during the same time frame.
Voters who are already registered with a major party can’t switch affiliations on Election Day or during the early voting period; those changes must be made by May 10.
For more information go to:
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard as equals in the political process.