Fair and transparent elections are the wish of every New Mexican.
Senate Bill 454 is an attempt to revamp New Mexico’s election system. This legislation, even though a move in the correct direction to fulfill the promise of fair and transparent elections, still falls short on that promise.
This bill thwarts election transparency by creating a cloaking device for the election infrastructure. Anyone seeking information to provide independent verification of an election will now face almost insurmountable roadblocks.
A legal scholar once noted: “We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence.”
There it is.
New Mexico’s election system has been under fierce scrutiny this past year. SB-454 does attempt to address the erosion of confidence but whisks away the idea of open and fair elections when it maintains zero access to the voting machines. Anyone should be able to access this information. Transparency is a powerful antidote to secrecy.
Aside from the voting machines, this bill limits poll challengers’ access regarding ballot certification. This meaningful work of a poll challenger ensures integrity and transparency. To not allow challengers to do their job again brings into question the fairness of the process. This measure is an absolute must if we are ever going to restore the faith of the public in our elections. Restoring faith in election integrity is critical to sustaining a functional government. The actual decisions must be made at the lowest level where neighbor meets neighbor.
SB-454 also limits IPRA (Inspection of Public Records Act) requests for New Mexico elections, thus greatly hampering the oversight and reviews of elections.
Questions are also being raised about lessening identification requirements. It is imperative that voters provide their name, signature, address, and a unique identification, such as the last four digits of their social security number. This makes more sense in terms of integrity and security rather than all this information pre-printed on an absentee ballot.
In 2020 The Republican Party of New Mexico took issue with how GOP poll challengers were treated and given limited access to monitor polling places. We take issue with the weakening of any security provision in the election process. If Democrats seek to lessen such provisions, we cannot support such legislation.
Election integrity has always been paramount to the Republican Party of New Mexico. If the voting and handling of our elections are truly open and fair, the Party will accept the outcome.