New Mexico’s Indigenous, low-income, rural, and communities of color are most severely affected by the symptoms of climate change – higher temperatures, worsening drought, and more extreme weather in general. These same communities also experience systemic obstacles to civic engagement, and as a result have been traditionally and historically left out of the democratic process. We believe our democracy is strongest when all New Mexicans can equitably and fully participate – especially those most directly impacted by environmental and social injustices.
Fortunately, New Mexico has taken a crucial step to address this harmful disparity. With the passage of HB 4 Voting Rights Protections in the 2023 legislative session, our state has moved toward a more accessible and equitable democracy for all.
Voter Rights Protections starts this process in a number of key ways, as it:
- supports the rights of Indigenous voters by expanding the time for when Indigenous tribes, nations, and pueblos can request alternate voting sites
- automatically restores the voting rights of anyone convicted of a felony who is not currently incarcerated
- extends the early voting period through the Sunday before Election Day
- creates a permanent absentee voter list
- extends the timeline for mailing ballots to voters to 35 days before an election and extends the deadline for accepting voted ballots
- makes Election Day a state holiday
- prohibits the transfer or publication of voter data online
- mandates same-day voter registration at all polling places
These voting protections and expansions of access will go a long way, we hope, toward addressing systemic issues within representation and at the same time crucially strengthen the very institutions of our democratic process. We will need to remain vigilant to ensure these measures are being implemented properly. While many states are taking steps backward and creating barriers to voting, New Mexico is committed to a fair and equitable democracy, acting on the knowledge that a more inclusive voting process leads to a better tomorrow.