New Mexico joins states permitting same-day voter registration
New Mexico will become the 18th state to permit its people to register and vote on Election Day, but not until 2022.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a measure Wednesday ending the longtime registration deadline of four weeks before a primary or general election. Next year, the deadlines will be the Saturday beforehand.
The new law, which was opposed by almost all Republicans in the state legislature, also expands automatic voter registration beyond dealings with the Motor Vehicle Division to include applicants for Medicaid, food stamps or other benefits through the state Human Services Department.
Turnout in the state last year was 55 percent, above the national average for the midterm.
Neal is federal government affairs manager at R Street Institute, a nonpartisan and pro-free-market public policy research organization.
The term "democratic norms" has become a misnomer over the last year. America's governing institutions are undermined by elected officials who dishonor their offices and each other. Standards of behavior and "normal" processes of governance seem to be relics of a simpler time. Our democracy has survived thus far, but the wounds are many.
Free speech and free press have been the White House's two consistent whipping posts. Comments such as "I think it is embarrassing for the country to allow protestors" and constant attacks on press credibility showcase President Trump's disdain for the pillars of democracy. Traditional interactions between the administration and the press are no longer taken for granted. Demeaning, toxic criticisms have become so common that they're being ignored. As the administration revokes critics' press passes and daily briefings are canceled, normalcy in this arena is sorely missed.
Having had remarkable success at signing people up to vote in Texas last year, an Austin group of activists is expanding its pilot program into a full-blown national effort to overcome the sometimes ignored first hurdle for people in the voting process — registration.
"There are millions of voters who are registered who don't get out to vote," said Christopher Jasinski, director of partnerships for Register2Vote. "But the unmeasured part of the pie is the actual number of unregistered voters."