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Gov. Martinez signs bill allowing some 17-year olds to vote

SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez signed several bills into law today, including legislation that will allow 17-year old New Mexico residents to vote in June primary elections if they turn 18 before the general election.

However, the new law won’t go into effect until 2018.

That’s because the bill’s May 18 effective date is 8 days after this year’s voter registration deadline will have passed.

The bill, House Bill 138, was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and  touted by backers as a way to increase voter turnout numbers.

It would not violate federal election law because New Mexico’s primary election is essentially a nomination process, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

Other bills signed today by Martinez include legislation aimed at allowing cities and towns to use their lodger’s tax revenue to bring commercial air service to their areas.

The governor has until March 9 to act on bills passed during this year’s 30-day legislative session. As of today, she had signed 25 and has not yet vetoed any measures — there were still 76 bills awaiting her signature.

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