New Mexico's House approves automatic voter registration

The New Mexico House of Representatives has voted in favor of automatic voter registration legislation.

Lawmakers late Tuesday night approved a bill that would change that state’s voter registration to be “opt-out” at motor vehicle offices, according to Las Cruces Sun News.

Currently, drivers in New Mexico can choose to be registered to vote when they get their driver’s license or ID at a Motor Vehicle Division office through an “opt-in” system, the newspaper noted.

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If the new legislation passes the state Senate, the registration process would be changed to automatically register people unless they choose to opt out, it added.

The measure, which was passed in a 44-22 vote in the House, reportedly faced opposition from Republican lawmakers who said that it could result in ineligible people becoming registered to vote illegally.

Democrats argued that the bill included safeguards to prevent that from happening, such as a mandated annual audit of voter rolls by the New Mexico Secretary of State, according to the newspaper.

Lawmakers and voters in a number of other states, including Nevada and Massachusetts, have moved in recent months to establish automatic voter registration systems.