Albuquerque councilors consider removal of old city election voter ID rule

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For the first time in more than a decade, the upcoming vote for Albuquerque mayor won’t require voters to share a photo identification. A relatively new change in state law is behind the upcoming municipal election change and city councilors are now considering clarifying the shift in the city charter. 

Albuquerque city councilors are considering a vote to repeal the old 2005 voter ID requirement. A vote was initially expected on the measure Monday, however, councilors voted to deferred their decision until a later meeting. 

The voter ID topic went in front of Albuquerque voters during the October 2005 municipal election. At that time, the effort to consider the rule change was lead by city councilors Sally Mayer and Michael Cadigan. 

“We don’t want to interrupt anybody’s right to vote,” Cadigan said in a 2005 interview with KRQE News 13. “But at the same time, we want to make sure that the person who’s voting really is the person they say they are.” 

The October 2005 election drew more than 83,000 votes, roughly a 50% voter turnout. According to official city election results, about 57,000 people voted for the “Open Ethical Elections Code,” while roughly 25,000 people voted against the measure. 

Since late 2005, any municipal election required voters to share an ID. However, 16-years later municipal elections are now held under a different set of rules outlined in state law. 

Under the 2018 Local Elections Act, Albuquerque is now voluntarily letting the county handle all of the city’s municipal elections. Those include elections for the mayor, city council, and bond questions. 

Under state law, New Mexico has no voter ID requirement. According to Albuquerque City Clerk’s Office, the city’s unique 2005 rule no longer applies. In a recent meeting, the Albuquerque City Clerk’s office told city councilors the old rule has recently led to confusion. 

“Because of the confusion and questions we’ve been getting from voters and candidates alike, we thought it best to clarify that this was no longer in effect by removing it from our charter,” said Ethan Watson, City Clerk for the City of Albuquerque. “Our election is coming up pretty quickly and we are getting questions about this.” 

Albuquerque city councilors are now expected to vote on the possible repeal of the municipal election voter ID measure on June 7. Under state rules, voters are still expected to verbally identify themselves by their name, year of birth, and address. 

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