FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 March 2021
Alex Curtas, Director of Communications
New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver Applauds Legislature for Passage of Priority Bills to Help Voters, Businesses
SANTA FE – The 2021 New Mexico Legislative Session was a productive one for the Secretary of State’s Office, as a number of Secretary Toulouse Oliver’s priority bills passed through both chambers and are now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Secretary Toulouse Oliver, along with key members of her staff, worked across the aisle with members of both parties on bills that will increase voter access, assist election administrators in upcoming elections, and provide more streamlined services for anyone doing business in New Mexico.
“I’m proud of the work my Office did in helping to craft these bills and working with the legislature to get them across the finish line,” said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “As we look forward to the upcoming CD1 special election and the Regular Local Election later this year, I’m confident that New Mexico’s election administrators and voters have everything they need to make these elections successful. Bills to clarify our relationship with the State Ethics Commission, to help formerly incarcerated individuals participate in elections, and to make the notarial process more accessible were additional policy highlights that we can be proud of coming out of this year’s session. I thank all legislators who sponsored these bills for working closely with my Office on these important pieces of legislation and I urge Governor Lujan Grisham to sign them into law.”
These are some of the Secretary of State’s Office’s priority bills that passed through both legislative chambers and that Secretary Toulouse Oliver is encouraging Governor Lujan Grisham to sign:
SB 286 – EMERGENCY CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION PROCEDURE
- This bill contains similar provisions to SB4, passed during the 2020 special legislative session, implemented for the 2020 General Election to assist election officials with the conduct of an election during the pandemic. It extends many of those provisions to the special election for Congressional District 1 that will take place in June 2021. Some of the most important provisions of the bill include:
- that if an application for a mailed ballot is rejected, the county clerk must send a rejection notice to the voter;
- that if the election board does not complete its work by 11:00 pm on election night, the county clerk must notify the county sheriff, who will post a deputy to secure the uncounted ballots;
- that all polling locations in every county can act as voter convenience centers, meaning that any voter registered in a certain county can vote at any polling place in that county. However, for tribal lands, if a public health concern exists, polling locations do not have to operate as voting convenience centers;
- that the Secretary of State’s Office will mail a voter education notice to every mailable voter informing them of how to participate in the upcoming election;
- that the deadline for voters to submit an application for a mailed ballot is 14 days before the election. On the returned ballot, the voter must provide the last four digits of their social security number and sign an oath for voter identification;
- that the Secretary of State’s Office work with the Department of Health to procure sufficient personal protective equipment for each county clerk and all polling locations in the state.
HB 231 – NATIVE AMERICAN POLLING PLACE PROTECTION
- This bill ensures that, during an emergency situation, the Secretary of State’s Office is able to accommodate the voting needs of tribal communities by allowing them to control access to their polling locations. It provides protections for polling locations in an Indian Nation, tribal or pueblo land and requires an agreement from a Native American governing body before polling locations on Native American land can be closed or consolidated. These provisions were in place during the 2020 General Election and allowed the Secretary of State’s Office to work successfully in collaboration with county and tribal governments.
SB 12 – REVISED UNIFORM LAW ON NOTARIAL ACTS
- In addition to a number of other changes to New Mexico’s existing law on notaries and notarial acts, this bill will allow notaries to accept electronic signatures and it broadens the ability of certain individuals, like lawyers and court clerks, to perform notarial acts.
HB 244 – ETHICS COMMISSION & SEC. OF STATE DUTIES
- This bill clarifies the roles and responsibilities between the Secretary of State’s Office and the State Ethics Commission, specifically updating the duties of the SOS and SEC in administering and enforcing the Campaign Reporting Act, Voter Action Act, Lobbyist Regulation Act, and the Financial Disclosure Act.