Last night left-leaning Democrats tried to push an election reform bill through that would have again threatened the integrity of our November election. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, three other Democrats and supported by the governor, would have allowed County Clerks to send vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots to constituents. But Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) proposed an amendment to SB-4 that removed this key provision from the bill. Under the revised legislation, voters must continue to apply for absentee ballots, which have true protections and tracking procedures.
Republicans repeatedly voiced their concerns about ballot security risks, and Ivey-Soto once again tried to change election laws for political gain. Ivey-Soto unsuccessfully pushed this legislation earlier this year and then led a legal charge to the New Mexico Supreme Court. The Republican Party challenged that petition and won on a numbers of grounds.
The Senate Rules Committee approved the amendment 6-5 with Democrats President Pro Temper Mary Kay Papen and Sen. Clemente Sanchez supporting the changed bill.
“Sen. Ivey-Soto continues to push for mail-in ballots and doesn’t seem to care about ballot integrity or fair elections. He knows there are no strong security measures with VBMs. There are too many ways fraud can be committed, and vote-by-mail opens the doors to all kinds of serious problems,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. “The Senator is obsessed with this, and this Special Session, especially, is no time to tinker with election laws. We must focus on the state budget crisis. We are a state on the brink of financial collapse, and progressives are again diverting attention from the real issues at hand.”
“We ended up with a bill that will strengthen ballot security and will allow voters to cast ballots from their homes if they choose it’s the best thing for their health and safety,” said Pirtle. “We took a partisan bill, added a bipartisan amendment and created legislation that the entire Senate can support.”
The amended SB-4 bill was approved unanimously and heads to the full Senate.