Feb 8 / Erin Ferns Lee

Voter ID Proposals Die in New Mexico

Three proposals to require citizens to present photo ID to cast a regular ballot were blocked yesterday on a 3-2 party line vote of the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee. House officials said that the bills “were elaborate and expensive solutions to a nonexistent problem.”

More than 16 organizations and citizens spoke out against the bills, including voter Katy Sheridan, one of the millions of Americans who does not have a valid driver’s license to use as proof of identity to vote.

“I use bicycle, bus and my own two feet to get around,” Sheridan said. Last fall, she said she was denied a ballot in the Albuquerque municipal election because, unbeknownst to her, the city requires photo ID to cast a ballot, according to the El Paso Times.

Republican Rep. Dianne Hamilton–longtime supporter of photo ID and sponsor of failed voter ID bill, HB 235–hopes to run for re-election this year to bring back another photo ID bill in 2013, according to the Farmington Daily Times. Hamilton claims that she does “believe with all my heart there’s a great deal of voter fraud,” but state officials say there is no evidence of a problem.

“The bogeyman does not exist. Widespread voter fraud in New Mexico simply doesn’t exist,” said Democratic Rep. Antionio Maestas.

Even the presenter of one of the voter ID bills agreed that voter impersonation fraud is a nonissue. (Daniel Ivey-Soto, spokesperson for the organization representing New Mexico’s 33 county clerks helped Rep. James Smith present one of the failed voter ID bills.)

“I am comfortable in saying there is no systemic voter fraud in New Mexico,” said Ivey-Soto.

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