(En Español) Registering to vote is about to get a lot easier for many New Mexicans.
In January 2016, the New Mexico Secretary of State will launch online voter registration. This will give people who have access to the Internet a convenient way to update their registrations or register for the first time.
To register online, qualified voters must have a state identification number issued by the Motor Vehicle Department. This allows the system to match the data, preventing fraud and ensuring accuracy.
This is an invaluable tool in at least 23 states already. Pennsylvania launched online registration at the end of August 2015 and had over 5,000 users in the first week. It had over 32,000 by the first week of October.
While Internet access is not universal, we believe the response in NM will be big and are preparing for large numbers of users.
Encouraging and increasing online registration will reduce the potential for error, increase the accuracy of the rolls, reduce lines and congestion at the polling location, improve the voter experience by updating records immediately, and increase the integrity of our system.
Studies of online registration show that younger voters are more likely to register when online tools are available There is also evidence that turnout may be higher among those registering online than those who register on paper. It also removes barriers to participation for voters with disabilities.
Finally, we know that many people in Doña Ana County do not have access to the Internet. Online registration will help many, but it should only be one part of our attempt make voter registration more accessible.
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.