On March 30, New Mexico Governor and Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham signed one of the worst election bills in the U.S. into law. The bill, dubbed the “New Mexico Voting Rights Act,” is a massive expansion of Democrat-backed election policies that blue states across the nation are intent on ramming through state legislatures.
As my colleague Shawn Fleetwood noted, such a strat is the result of congressional Democrats’ failure to pass HR 1, a measure that would cement Democrats’ radical election policies into law and federalize state elections. Because HR 1 died in the Senate in 2021, Democrats have decided the best way for them to change the country’s election laws is to implement them state-by-state. And New Mexico, where Democrats enjoy unified control of the state government, is an optimal place for them to start.
Here’s a brief overview of what the bill does.
Automatic Voter Registration
Starting in 2025, New Mexico residents who apply for a driver’s license will automatically be registered to vote, as well as in other public agencies “designated by the Secretary of State.” Such a move is reminiscent of Biden’s executive order federalizing elections, which turned federal agencies, especially those that dole out federal benefits, into voter registration centers. There are serious ethical concerns with tying federal or state benefits to election activity. As Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway noted, “Federal agencies that interact with the public by doling out benefits can easily pressure recipients to vote for particular candidates and positions.” This same risk pattern presents itself in New Mexico.
Plus, by automatically registering those who apply for a driver’s license, New Mexico increases the chance of accidentally granting the franchise to non-citizen residents since the state allows noncitizens to obtain driver’s licenses. It will not be surprising if New Mexico ends up like Colorado, which also automatically registers those who apply for a driver’s license to vote and allows noncitizens to obtain licenses. Despite the Colorado Secretary of State’s insistence that noncitizen residents would not be allowed to register to vote, Colorado ended up sending 31,000 foreign nationals voter registration mailers prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
As Carla Sonntag, founder and CEO of New Mexico Business Coalition and Better Together New Mexico, told my colleague, Shawn Fleetwood, “HB 4 is far worse than anything we’ve seen before. Even though proof of citizenship is supposed to be required to vote, the automatic registration mandate includes New Mexico’ residents’ who may not be here legally. And since New Mexico provides driver’s licenses for nonresidents, this mandate significantly increases the likelihood of non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote.”
Another provision of the bill grants roughly 11,000 felons currently on probation or parole the right to vote, abolishing previous voting prohibitions. It also provides voter registration opportunities for felons once they’ve completed their sentences. As I’ve previously noted, granting the vote to felons is part of the left’s strategy to harvest low-effort votes and add thousands of new voters to their ranks, as felons disproportionately vote Democrat. Per a 2019 Ragnar Research study, “incarcerated felons are more than three times as likely to be registered Democrats (1.7:1) or unaffiliated (1.4:1) than Republicans. Ex-felons are four times as likely to be Democrats (2.7:1) or unaffiliated (1.3:1).”
While Democrats may consider granting criminals the right to vote a civil rights issue, make no mistake, they really see these individuals as a vulnerable new constituency they can turn into a reliable voting bloc (along with young people, single women, and minorities).
HB4 also allows New Mexico residents to opt into all-mail elections, meaning the state will send them an absentee ballot for all future elections as long as they don’t miss two consecutive elections. Such a move will likely lead to New Mexico becoming an all-mail state.
Currently, eight states conduct their elections exclusively by mail (thanks to the Covid-19 lockdowns that popularized it), with disastrous results. For example, 10 million mail-in ballots are missing in California from the 2022 midterm election. In Nevada, 1.2 million ballots from the 2022 election cycle remain unaccounted for. While election officials believe a majority of these ballots were thrown out or ignored by recipients, because there is no chain of custody with all-mail elections, there is no way of knowing whether the ballots were withheld from recipients or fraudulently filled out.
Plus, states that allow for mail-in balloting greatly incentivize ballot harvesting by political operatives. Democrat activists can now coax potential voters to fill out their ballots on the spot, wherever they might be, and later deliver them to election offices rather than having to convince voters to do the legwork themselves. And especially as HB4 mandates a minimum of two absentee drop boxes per county, expect Democrats to double down on their ballot harvesting efforts.
What This Means
Election integrity advocates must be vigilant of attempts by Democrats to pass similar legislation to that of New Mexico in other states. For example, bills like Minnesota’s HF 3, which establishes automatic voter registration and lowers the voting age to 16. Other efforts are underway in New Jersey and Wisconsin. This is not to mention smaller pushes to expand noncitizen voting, granting the franchise to felons, and pre-registering high school students. All of these attempts are evidence of the left’s efforts to restructure American elections in ways that give leftists a near-permanent electoral advantage.
“New Mexico Democrats have decided to follow in Congressional Democrats’ footsteps, jamming through highly partisan election laws that weaken election integrity for partisan gain,” Director of Honest Elections Project Action Jason Snead said. “HB 4 pushes the state towards all-mail voting by creating a permanent mail voting list, automatically returns voting privileges to felons who have not yet completed their full sentences, and mandates error-prone automatic voter registration. Each of these ‘reforms’ are as partisan as they are unwise, and jeopardize voters’ trust in elections. These new laws are a step in the wrong direction for election integrity.”