Two Democrats joined with Republicans to kill a bill that would have automatically registered all eligible adults as voters when they obtain a New Mexico driver’s license. Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, questioned whether the bill was necessary when the Motor Vehicle Division can already offer eligible adults the chance to register to vote. Republicans on Thursday evening moved to table the bill in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee. Rodella and a newly elected Democrat, Rep. Daymon Ely of Corrales, sided with Republicans to stop the proposal on a 5-2 vote.
Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, House Bill 28 had won backing from the secretary of state and good government groups such as the League of Women Voters.
Six other states have recently adopted similar programs, and voting rights advocates say automatic voter registration leads to a simpler, more inclusive election process.
They didn’t sway Rodella. “People should choose for themselves whether they want to participate in the process or not,” she said.