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New Mexico’s permanent absentee voter list goes into effect

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Absentee ballot being placed into a drop box at a Bernalillo County polling location.
Nash Jones

Last year, lawmakers passed the New Mexico Voting Rights Act, which expanded and codified certain voting rights protections. A provision of that law that established a permanent absentee voter list went into effect on Monday, Jan. 1.

Until now, New Mexico voters who wanted to cast an absentee ballot had to request one for each election. That has now changed with the creation of a permanent absentee voter list.

Joining the list is voluntary. Participants must have a New Mexico mailing address and cannot be a military or overseas voter.

To get on it, eligible voters will request an absentee ballot from their county clerk just as they would have in the past. However, this time they’ll check a box to be added to the permanent list. If accepted, the clerk will automatically send the voter a mailed ballot for every statewide election that includes their precinct.

The clerk must remind voters that they are on the list at least 49 days before each election and provide information on how to get off of it if they wish.

Voters can also be forcibly removed from the list if they skip voting two elections in a row, move out of the county they’re registered in or have their ballot returned to sender.

The next statewide election is the primary on June 4. Absentee applications for that election will open on March 11 following the municipal elections, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

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Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.