Gov. Susana Martinez killed on Friday legislation that would have consolidated most local elections into one beginning in 2019. The pocket veto was a defense of local laws requiring photo identification to vote, Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said. “It would have taken away voter ID in the local jurisdictions that have implemented it,” Sanchez said. “The governor is a strong supporter of voter ID.” Satisfying concerns about preserving local voter ID laws in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and elsewhere was key to winning GOP support for the bill during legislative deliberations. Cities would have been allowed to opt out of consolidated elections if the bill had become law. Supporters said those that did opt out would have been allowed to keep their own rules governing elections, including requiring a photo ID to vote.
After satisfying many GOP lawmakers’ concerns that cities had an option to preserve their voter ID laws, the Legislature sent House Bill 174 to the governor with bipartisan support.
Proponents said consolidating elections would increase voter turnout by making it easier for people to understand when and where they can vote and bring more attention to elections by having more candidates and issues on one ballot.