NM lawmaker pushing for voter ID requirements

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A state legislator is pushing for voter identification requirements in New Mexico. While he calls his bill a compromise, critics say it would create more problems than it solves.

Cities and state around the country have enacted voter ID legislation. It’s required in Albuquerque during city elections, and people in Hobbs recently passed a similar law.

“Anybody who’s not voting accurately by who they say they are, that’s too many,” Republican Rep. James Smith told KRQE News 13.

Smith’s filed a bill that would require voters to produce government-issued photo IDs with some exceptions. People who don’t bring their ID could still vote if they gave a social security number and date of birth.

Smith’s proposal would change not only how you vote in person, but also by mail.

“This bill covers absentee ballots as well, where you have to prove who you are over absentee ballots and if there is a place for voter fraud, it’s more likely in the absentee or the registration than it is in in person voting,” Smith said.

Smith backed a similar bill four years ago, but it didn’t go anywhere. He calls this bill a compromise.

Critics like Albuquerque democrat Sen. Jacob Candelaria say voter ID laws actually create a problem.

“Bills like this in other states have really led to lawful voters being denied the right to vote when they show up at the polls,” Candelaria said. “Any legislation that runs the risk of disenfranchising even a single person is one I’m greatly concerned about.”

Candelaria said the real issue is prosecuting people who do commit voter fraud to the fullest extent of the law.

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