New Mexico Court Turning to Mediation to Deal with Dispute over Mail-in Voting
Wednesday, April, 8, 2020
The New Mexico State Supreme Court has decided to mediate a dispute regarding the state's election in early June. The decision to not hold in-person voting was made due to the coronavirus pandemic to minimize health risks for state residents.
Most local officials throughout the state wanted to suspend voting to set up voting centers and mail-in ballots, but others believe it will create the opportunity for fraud in the election. Others believe the traditional absentee voting procedure only, without mail-in ballots, would be a solution that would protect the health of New Mexico citizens and allow everyone to vote in the election without concern for fraud. The concern is that mail-in ballots would make it difficult to track and monitor ballots of registered voters. There is also a call for there to be a special session of the state legislature to address the issue.
New Mexico is among several states that are in disagreement over the safest way to hold elections during the health pandemic. There is a dispute over the safety of in-person voting and whether or not it might be appropriate to delay elections or organize them in different ways. In addition to making the process safe for voters, officials also need to consider the safety of poll workers, who tend to be elderly volunteers.
Several county clerks requested that the courts implement the mail-in balloting procedure. Lawmakers are asking that there be a special session of the legislature held so there is time to deliberate the decision and determine if mail-in ballots are appropriate, but according to New Mexico law, the legislature cannot meet via teleconference.