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Voter-registration bills head to House floor

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UNM student Kyle Craft consults a voter guide before casting his ballot last year. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — Two proposals moving through the House are aimed at making it easier for New Mexicans to register to vote.

Both proposals, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers, passed the House Judiciary Committee on Monday and are heading next to the House floor.

One measure, House Bill 84, would automatically register people to vote when they get their driver’s license or ID at the Motor Vehicle Division, unless they opt out or are ineligible.

The other proposal, House Bill 86, would allow people to register to vote on Election Day or at early voting sites. Under the current system, the registration period closes four weeks before Election Day.

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who supports both proposals, said the bills would reduce barriers to voting while maintaining adequate safeguards to ensure only qualified voters are able to cast ballots.

It’s a common source of complaints, she said, for people to show up on Election Day only to find out they failed to register in time.

“There’s no reason not to do this in this state,” she said at one point. “We have the technology.”

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