Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who was re-elected in November after stressing her support for a photo identification requirement at polling places, is not supporting a bipartisan voter ID bill crafted by a Republican House member and a Democratic senator. Instead, she favors a more restrictive bill. In a memo issued Thursday, titled “Secretary of State’s Office 2015 Legislative Priorities,” Duran’s staff wrote that House Bill 61, sponsored by Rep. Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, “allows for something less than full photo voter ID.” A yet-to-be-introduced bill by Republican Rep. Cathrynn Brown of Carlsbad, however, “does propose full photo ID,” according to the memo, which said Duran’s office “worked with Rep. Brown on the drafting of her bill.” Brown said Friday that her bill is still in the drafting stage. Smith is the newly appointed chairman of the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee — to which all voter ID bills will be referred.
HB 61, which was pre-filed in December, was written by Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque. It is similar to a bill Smith sponsored in 2012. Duran endorsed Smith’s measure that year over ones by other legislators, including Brown.
The main difference between Smith’s new bill and his bill in 2012 is that the new one would allow voters who are enrolled members of federally recognized Indian tribes to use identification cards or letters of enrollment that do not have photos. “I think this is a very important part of the bill,” Smith said Monday. In a previous interview, Smith told The New Mexican that he took to heart criticism from American Indian voters.
Under HB 61, student identification cards with a photo also could be used to vote. In addition, the name on the identification would not have to exactly match the name on the voter’s registration. So if a person had “Sue” on her license but was registered as “Susan,” she would not be barred from voting.