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Texas bill: A step towards better voter ID education, greater transparency
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 12:00
Excerpt: 

The state has a responsibility to educate the public about voter identification requirements under SB 14, the voter ID law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. In July 2016, the state was also ordered by a federal court to engage in a $2.5 million voter ID education campaign as part of an interim remedy agreement. Despite evidence that the 2016 voter ID education campaign was not entirely successful, the state has not been forthcoming with details about the plan.

HB 3328 seeks to increase government transparency in the interest of improving voter ID education efforts by making information related to public spending on voter ID education public information subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act. The exceptions described in Sections 552.101 and 552.103 of the Government Code would no longer apply to such information.

Recent rulings that Texas' voting laws discriminate put pressure on the state, but the road ahead is long
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 01:00
Excerpt: 

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to address the discriminatory issues found with the voter ID law. But Democrats say it falls short of meeting the standards that a district court set last year.

Plaintiffs want District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi to consider throwing out the law after the legislative session and returning the state to the federal government's "pre-clearance" list.

But even if that happened, the Texas attorney general's office would almost certainly challenge the decision in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. ...

The parties in the [redistricting] case are set to meet in San Antonio on Thursday. The three-judge panel will hear updates on whether a trial is needed and what a timeline for the rest of the case might look like.

But the panel has moved slowly and methodically throughout the case for over six years. It is unlikely to grant the plaintiffs' requests — for new congressional maps for the 2018 elections and federal oversight — before tackling other remaining issues, such as whether the 2013 interim maps were also discriminatory.

And even if the court sided with the plaintiffs in a trial and struck down the maps, Texas could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court — dragging out the case even longer.

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New Mexico Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Early Voting: October 11-November 5

Voter Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

For more information, visit the New Mexico Secretary of State website.

Election Day:

7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Early voting begins at your County Clerk’s office on October 11 and ends on November 4. These polling locations must be open for at least 8 hours a day and may be closed on Sunday and Monday. Please contact your County Clerk’s office for more information: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Voter_Information/County_Clerk_Information.aspx.

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Check Your Registration: https://voterview.state.nm.us/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do or call 866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register to vote, the individual must: (A) be a resident of New Mexico; (B) a citizen of the United States; (C) not legally declared mentally incapacitated; (D) not a convicted felon, or a felon who has completed all of the terms and conditions of sentencing; and

(E) 18 years or older at the time of the next election.

How to Register:

Individuals may obtain registration forms at government offices, including the Secretary of State’s Office, Motor Vehicle Division offices, post offices, local town halls, political party headquarters, public assistance offices and libraries and register by mail. Further, individuals may register online at the following web address: https://portal.sos.state.nm.us/OVR/WebPages/InstructionsStep1.aspx

Identification Required for Registration:

If an applicant is registering for the first time and the registration application is submitted by mail, the applicant must submit a copy of one of the following forms of identification: (A) a current and valid photo identification or (B) current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo that shows the name and current address of the applicant. If the applicant does not include a copy of the form of identification with the registration application, he/she will need to present a permitted form of identification at the polling location.

If an applicant is registering online, he/she will need to provide his/her social security number, driver’s license number or state identification number, and date of birth.

If You Want to Vote Early

Early voting begins at your County Clerk’s office on October 11 and ends on November 5. These polling locations must be open for at least 8 hours a day and may be closed on Sunday and Monday. Please contact your County Clerk’s office for more information: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Voter_Information/County_Clerk_Information.aspx.  

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Any registered voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot.  No special circumstances are necessary. The New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application is available at your County Clerk’s office. You may request an application by mail, telephone, or in person. To find your County Clerk’s office, please go to: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Voter_Information/County_Clerk_Information.aspx. You can also obtain an absentee ballot application on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website (Application for Absent Voter Ballot, http://www.sos.state.nm.us/uploads/files/NMAV-1.pdf). 

The County Clerk must receive your signed New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday, November 4 and you must return the ballot to the County Clerk’s office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. You must sign the oath on the envelope used to return the absentee ballot. You may return the ballot personally or by mail. You may also have an immediate family member or caregiver hand deliver your ballot to the county clerk or your voting precinct by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. An unrelated third party may not deliver another voter's absentee ballot. 

Once an absentee ballot has been requested, you may not vote in person except by replacement absentee ballot. A replacement absentee ballot can be obtained at the County Clerk’s office or polling place before 5:00 pm on the Monday before Election Day or at your assigned polling place on Election Day. In both cases, you must submit a sworn affidavit stating that you did not receive or vote the absentee ballot.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Most voters aren’t required to show ID. Voters who registered in New Mexico for the first time, submitted their registration by mail, and didn’t include a copy of their ID when they registered need to enclose or bring a copy of a government document with the voter’s name and address.

VoteRiders has created New Mexico voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

If you have moved, you must fill out a new voter registration form and submit it to your county clerk’s office. New Mexico law does not specify what voters should do if they’ve moved and have not updated their registrations. Voters should call their county clerk’s office directly and request guidance - http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Voter_Information/County_Clerk_Information.aspx.

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

An UOCAVA voter may register to vote using one of the following methods:

You may submit your application via mail or email to your County Clerk’s office. To find your County Clerk’s office, please go to: http://www.sos.state.nm.us/Voter_Information/County_Clerk_Information.aspx. If you do not know which County Clerk you should submit your application to, send it to the Secretary of State (sos.elections@state.nm.us) for routing. Please also visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) New Mexico page. The deadline to register to vote is 28 days prior to an election.

An UOCAVA voter may request an absentee ballot by mail, email or facsimile. The New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application is available at your County Clerk’s office. You can also obtain an absentee ballot application on the New Mexico Secretary of State website (Application for Absent Voter Ballot, http://www.sos.state.nm.us/uploads/files/NMAV-1.pdf.  An FPCA is also considered a request for an absentee ballot.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

An UOCAVA voter may request an absentee ballot by mail, email or facsimile and may return the absentee ballot by mail, email or facsimile to his or her County Clerk. You must sign and return a waiver of secrecy form that will be provided by the County Clerk and the ballot must be received by the County Clerk’s office by 7:00 pm on Election Day. For more information please go to: http://www.fvap.gov/ or https://portal.sos.state.nm.us/OVR/WebPages/MilitaryDoc.aspx.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters.  You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities. You can use the FWAB if you are concerned about receiving your printed ballot and returning the ballot to the County Clerk’s office by 7:00 pm on Election Day. The FWAB is a blank ballot on which you write-in your choices.  The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the local election officials by the voter registration deadline. For more information please go to: http://www.fvap.gov/ or https://portal.sos.state.nm.us/OVR/WebPages/MilitaryDoc.aspx.

If you have been convicted of a felony in New Mexico, your voter registration will be canceled. A person convicted of a felony is eligible to re-register to vote when that person: (1) has been unconditionally discharged from a correctional facility or detention center; (2) has completed all conditions of parole or supervised probation; or (3) has had the conviction overturned on appeal. To determine if you are qualified to have your voting rights restored, you should contact the Department of Corrections, Division of Parole and Probation at (505) 827-8830.

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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Election Information for your state