News & Updates on Senate Bill 8 – NM Voting Rights Act
1/6/22 — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Sec. of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced their priorities for the expansion of voting rights and ballot access in the state of New Mexico. It includes our “Automatically restoring the voting rights of those convicted of a felony who are not currently incarcerated” as well as “allowing 16-year-olds to participate in local elections.” Examples of local elections include county officials, city/town/village councils, school boards, and local propositions and referendums.
1/18/22 — The 2022 Regular Session of the New Mexico State Legislature begins.
1/25/22 — Senate Bill 8 is introduced on the Senate Floor and referred to the Senate Rules committee (SRC) and Senate Finance Committee (SFC). It is on the SRC agenda for Monday 1/31/22. Contact members of the Senate Rules Committee.
1/26/22 — The NM Political Report publishes a story on this important measure in Senate Bill 8. Click here to read it.
1/31/22 — The SRC’s updated agenda pushes SB 8 to Wednesday, 2/2/22 at 9am.
2/2/22 — The Senate Rules Committee used up 3+ hours on one confirmation hearing before hearing SB 8. With so little time left, SRC Chair Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto opted to hear only 2 public comments and took a poll of the room. Dozens of advocates of the bill were waiting patiently in the room and on Zoom to testify, but the meeting adjourned around 1pm.
2/3/22 — The SRC has promised to hear public comment on SB 8 tomorrow / Friday 2/4/22 starting at 9am.
2/4/22 — 9:30am: In a marathon hearing in the SRC, dozens of people testified in favor of the bill, and opposition also rallied people against it. There were no time limits or sign up requirements to comment via Zoom. Chair Sen. Ivey-Soto insisted that advocates of SB 8 asked for this. We asked to be heard; we did not ask for a hearing with no rules or limits. The SRC ceased the comment period and recessed at 1:30pm for 1 hour.
2/4/22 — 2:50pm: SRC finally discusses and debates SB 8, introducing and voting on multiple amendments to remove different measures in the bill. Sen. Ivey-Soto proposed multiple amendments, including one to the #16vote portion, making the voting age 17 if the voter will be 18 by the next General Election. This is confusing language and we are disappointed that it passed, garnering a YES vote from all 4 GOP Senators and 3 Democrats: Ivey-Soto, Stewart, and Ortiz y Pino. Rights restoration survived this process in the bill. SRC adjourned and scheduled the final vote for Monday 2/7/22 at 9am.
2/7/22 — The SRC introduced a committee substitute to include all the amendments made on Friday. It was suggested that the bill should also be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) in addition to Senate Finance (SFC). The bill passed with this recommendation. All 7 Democrats voted in favor, all 4 GOP against.
2/9/22 — The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) began with a committee substitute from Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto which removed several key provisions in the bill, including back-end automatic voter registration, and election day as a state holiday. After considerably amending this substitute, SB 8 passed and was sent to SFC. All 6 Democrats voted in favor, all 3 GOP against. Advocates are notably upset that the bill has now been stripped of many of its most important provisions.
2/10/22 — The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) quietly passed SB 8. The bill now heads to the Senate Floor, and is expected to be heard on Saturday, 2/11/22.
Use this form to write to ALL the senators, express your support of the original #NMVotingRightsAct. Ask that they consider reinstating the measure to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, as well as back-end AVR and Election Day as a holiday!
If you prefer to use your own email client, click here for a list of every legislator’s email address.
2/11/22 — Sen. Brandt made a Call of the Senate on the Senate floor. With Sens. Schmedes and Candelaria missing, it effectively blocked the bill.
2/15/22 — 9am: Some provisions of SB 8, not including 16vote, as well as SB 6, may be amended onto another election bill, SB 144, and will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30pm. Write to the HJC members and urge them to reconsider adding more of SB 8 into this bill!
2/15/22 — 2pm: The large amendment was proposed in the HJC. It includes a simplified version of rights restoration that we strongly support (rather than un-register a voter upon a felony conviction and re-register them upon release, the voter would remain registered to vote but would simply not be allowed to vote while incarcerated. After hearing public comment, going through the now-much-larger bill, and discussing, the HJC passed SB 144 as amended. Calls for re-adding the 16-vote provision were not heeded. The bill now awaits a vote on the House Floor.
Despite being discouraged by the removal of much of the original Voting Rights act, we still support this bill, which still includes modernization efforts for voter registration and access, especially in rural and tribal areas, and the restoration of voting rights for people with convictions. Please contact your Representative to ask them to support SB 144.
2/16/22 — Wednesday: We expect the House to hear SB 144 at some point tonight and we await its passage. Please contact your Representative to ask them to support SB 144!
❝ Filibuster is a monument to white supremacy. It’s a relic from the Jim Crow era. Voting rights is the issue of this legislation. Fighting it is the legacy of segregation. ❞
2/17/22 — Thursday 10am: After an all-nighter in the House, SB 144 was taken up early this morning, discussed (filibustered) for the maximum of 3 hours, and passed the House at 9:50am. The Senate must concur, and it is unclear whether there will be enough time to do so before the session ends at 12 noon.
2/17/22 — Thursday 12pm: Knowing the voting rights bill needed only a concurrence voice vote in the Senate, Senator Sharer chose to end this session with a filibuster in the Senate, effectively running out the clock to prevent SB 144 from crossing the finish line. The 2022 Regular Legislative session has adjourned.
After this shameful act of obstructionism from the NM GOP, we urge Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to call a special session to take up the issues of voting rights and ballot access. Our democracy deserves dedicated and unrestricted time and attention.
Contact the Governor’s office to urge her not to give up on voting rights!
2/18/22 — Friday: A roundup of postmortem articles:
State Democrats lose an opportunity to pass reforms that have languished in Congress, leaving thousands disenfranchised and activists “disheartened, disappointed, and angry.”
We will not give up. Contact us to stay in touch with our ongoing efforts.