After long debate, lawmakers strike 16-year-olds from voting rights bill

Lawmakers spent 7½ hours Friday listening to testimony and debating a complex and controversial bill supporters say would expand voter access but opponents contend would lead to election fraud. The Senate Rules Committee approved an amendment striking a provision from Senate Bill 8 that would have allowed 16-year-olds to vote. The chairman, Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque, then abruptly ended the hearing before a final vote on the New Mexico Voting Rights Act. “It’s a long day, but this is an important bill,” Ivey-Soto said in an interview Friday night. “It deals with important rights and important issues [affecting voters].

Over GOP objections, voter registration bill advances

After a rancorous and partisan debate Wednesday, state senators approved a bill that would allow people to register to vote up to three days before an election. Voter registration now stops 28 days before a primary or general election. The bill sponsor, Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, called that an antiquated cutoff date and said some states offer same-day voter registration. Steinborn’s Senate Bill 224 passed on a 19-11 party-line vote with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing. The fact that all Republicans voted against it probably is not a good sign that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez would sign the bill if it clears the House of Representatives.

Interview with Maggie Toulouse Oliver (VIDEO)

Last week, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver spoke during a panel at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona. Netroots Nation received attention when Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley were confronted by a group of activists from #BlackLivesMatter. Earlier in the conference, Toulouse Oliver sat on a panel about voter rights. Toulouse Oliver has long been an advocate for less voting restrictions. New Mexico Political Report spoke with her shortly after her panel.