This year the legislature made decisions that will improve the election process. Both houses managed to pass an omnibus election bill that improves many things. I want to highlight one of those improvements; granting authority to the Secretary of State to cooperate with local, state and federal agencies on verification of voter registration information.
This allows NM to expand participation in interstate exchanges of voter registration information and thus do more to strengthen the integrity of our voter rolls, and help eligible residents get registered. Unlike other countries, there is no national list of registered voters. States are responsible for maintaining their own lists and even though we try to coordinate with each other, the system is far from perfect. This leads to millions of voters who have moved between states to appear on more than one state’s registration list. Problems with registration lists make every aspect of administration more difficult and many believe it leaves the system vulnerable to fraud.
All these data sharing efforts must remain compliant with the National Voter Registration Act rules regarding voter notification and removal from the rolls and protecting the privacy of voter data.
There are two programs that NM can now participate in to help ensure that our lists are accurate: the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (IVRC) and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
States participating in IVRC exchange and compare voting data after a federal election to see if voters in different states sharing the same name, birth date and other information voted in the same election. Any matches can then be investigated.
ERIC, which was started by the Pew Charitable Trusts, allows states to check their voter registration lists against data gathered from other states and nationally available lists, such as those maintained by the U.S. Posta Service or the Social Security Administration. ERIC can help us identify people who may have moved, died, changed their names, and which eligible voters might not be registered. In 2012 ERIC identified in just the seven participating states more than 850,000 records of voters who appeared to have moved, over 23,000 people who were deceased, over 14,000 duplicate records, and 5.7 million potentially eligible but unregistered voters.
In Doña Ana County we are interested in your feedback. Your election experience matters to us. Visit www.dacelections.com and share your ideas to help us improve.