It won’t be until after the 2016 general election that a revamped, more modern election management and voter registration system is fully implemented in New Mexico, according to the state’s top election officials. The secretary of state’s office briefed lawmakers on its progress during a meeting this week in Albuquerque. The agency already has updated the candidate filing system and streamlined the reporting of election results, but work has yet to start on revamping voter registration. Kari Fresquez, head of the elections bureau and the agency’s chief technology officer, said creating a one-stop shop for voters and integrating the numerous separate systems used by county clerks across the state marks the biggest step in the modernization process.
“It’s just a bit of a risk to implement a system before a big election, so we’re going to take the cautious path,” she said. “We will be working on it this year and next year, but we won’t really realize the benefits of it until after the presidential general election.”
The goal is to make it easier for voters to access and update their information online, look up election dates, find polling places and read sample ballots. For clerks, the system will enable them to better manage voter files, validate addresses and share information with the secretary of state’s office.
Aside from the challenges of finding ways to transfer information between the different systems currently used by the county clerks, election officials said many of the processes are manual and require a lot of time and money.