February 16, 2023

Senate passes bill to make intimidating election officials a felony

A "Vote Here" sign at the Otero County Fairgrounds in Alamogordo.

Nicole Maxwell

A "Vote Here" sign at the Otero County Fairgrounds in Alamogordo.

The NM Senate approved on Thursday SB 43 which makes the act of intimidating election officials a fourth degree felony.

The bill was approved on a 38-0 vote and now the bill goes to the House for committee approval.

“Under our current law, if someone seeks to intimidate a voter or challenger or watcher at the polls, by threatening force or violence or economic retaliation for the purpose of interfering, interfering with them voting for them, or preventing them from impartial administration of our election code that is a fourth degree felony,” bill sponsor Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, said. “What this bill does is it also extends the same protections to the people who are actually putting our elections on: our election workers, everyone from Secretary of State to county clerks to municipal clerks as well as their employees and agents.”

More:Bill making intimidation of election officials a felony moves to Senate floor

The bill came following threats against election officials in recent elections.

“Since the 2020 election, there’s been a sharp uptick in threats of violence against election workers,” Duhigg said. “This bill will address that issue here in New Mexico.”