Constitutional Amendment No. 3 proposes to change several provisions in Article 7, Section 1 of the Constitution of New Mexico that control who may vote in New Mexico's elections. The amendment proposes to alter six provisions that determine voter qualifications and expand legislative authority to set certain of those qualifications. Below are two summaries, one as Article 7, Section 1 currently stands and the second as the proposed amendment would revise it.
Currently, Article 7, Section 1:
1. guarantees that persons over 21 years of age cannot be denied to vote based upon their age;
2. guarantees the right to vote to otherwise qualified electors if they have lived in the state for 12 months, the county for 90 days and the precinct in which the voter offers to vote for 30 days prior to the election;
3. guarantees New Mexico residents who are otherwise qualified electors the right to vote in all elections for public officers;
4. prohibits convicted felons from voting unless restored to political rights;
5. guarantees qualified electors the right to vote only in elections for public officers; and
6. prohibits "idiots" and "insane persons" from voting.
The proposed amendment to Article 7, Section 1 would:
1. replace the language regarding persons over 21 years of age with the federal constitutional standard, which guarantees that "[t]he right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.";
2. remove the durational residency requirements, which are already effectively preempted by federal law, and would authorize the legislature to determine those requirements in accordance with federal law;
3. replace the provision that guarantees New Mexico residents the right to vote in all elections for public officers with a provision guaranteeing persons who are United States citizens and otherwise qualified to vote under federal law the right to vote in all elections in New Mexico, subject to residency and registration requirements enacted by the legislature;
4. allow the legislature to determine if convicted felons will be able to vote or not, regardless of whether the convicted felons have served the entirety of their sentences;
5. guarantee that qualified electors will be eligible to vote in all elections in New Mexico rather than just elections for public officers, which would presumably prohibit voter eligibility restrictions based upon property ownership or other restrictions currently in effect for some special district elections; and
6. remove the constitutional restriction on "idiots" and "insane persons" but allow the legislature to restrict citizens from voting by reason of mental incapacity, which is limited to "persons who are unable to mark their ballot and who are concurrently also unable to communicate their voting preference".
Proposing an amendment to Article 7, Section 1 of the Constitution of New Mexico to modernize language on qualified electors by removing language denigrating persons with developmental disabilities, adopting federal requirements to vote, defining mental incapacity for voting purposes and restricting felons from voting except as restored by statute.
( ) FOR
( ) AGAINST