Joint NM Legislative Panel Hears About Voter Intimidation on Election Day
It may be an American’s right to vote on Election Day, but that right was hampered in last November’s elections by excessively long waits, a limited number of voting machines, a lack of Spanish-speaking translators and — in one case — an “intimidating” police presence at the polls.
Those were just a few of the stories that people told legislative members of both the House Voter and Election Committee and the Senate Rules Committee on Saturday morning. The special session was dedicated to hearing testimony on unexpected and unpleasant challenges facing New Mexico voters in last November’s general election.
“There’s no such thing as a perfect election, but it’s always troubling to hear of issues on Election Day,” said Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who has served as county clerk for Bernalillo County since 2007. She was one of about 20 people offering first-hand testimony — and also the only county clerk to show up for the event.
Others — many of whom spoke Spanish during the hearing — told first-hand stories of waiting at least three hours in lengthy lines and finding very little guidance in the way of signage or Spanish-language documents. Many said that officials and volunteers manning polling sites asked them for photo identification documents despite the fact that they had their voter registration card on them.
Bilingual access to all state services is in the New Mexico Constitution.
Voter turn-out activists, take note of this testimony:
Uribe garnered a rare laugh during the relatively somber proceedings when he said one way to lure older voters to the polls is to offer them a ride in a limousine. “It’s cheaper to rent a 15-seat limo for five hours than to get a 15-seat van for the day,” he said. “You offer them a ride to the polls in a van and they say ‘no.’ You take a 15-seat limo, they all jump in.”
Read the whole article here: Joint Panel Hears About Election Day Challenges - the Santa Fe New Mexican
See another article about the hearings here: Ugly Showdown in Chaparral, New Mexico, on Election Day.