Voter I.D. not on state's agenda this year

Posted at: 01/03/2013 5:57 PM
Updated at: 01/03/2013 6:14 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

One of the hottest hot-button issues in New Mexico politics may be a no-show when state lawmakers convene in a few days for their sixty day session.

It looks like voter I.D. will not be on the table this time, even though it's a favorite issue with many Republican lawmakers.

Remember the booze-for-votes scandal 4 On Your Side exposed in Rio Arriba County last spring? How about the guy who pretended to be his own son so he could cast two ballots?  Cases like these give the drive for voter I.D. some momentum, but not this year.

Republican lawmakers who've been fighting for voter I.D. legislation for years have decided not to introduce the bills this time. The reason is basic: They don't have the votes to pass it.

We talked to a group of savvy voters at the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce luncheon with Governor Martinez Thursday, and we found a lot of people actually relieved to have it off the table.

"There are so many other issues, I don't think it needs to be addressed right now," said Linda Chavez. "There are so many other issues to take care of, that one seems to be down low on the totem pole."

"It does get in the way of other things," agreed Steve Becerra. "It also has an impact on a lot of the older crowd that lives in New Mexico. I think a lot of people just don't have the proper I.D., whatever the proper I.D. is.  I just think it's a non-issue. We know who we are."

New Mexico Democrats argue that voter I.D. discriminates against minorities, the elderly and the poor, and they point out that nobody has ever proved any wide scale voter fraud here.

Eleven states have voter I.D. laws on the books. Six more have passed new legislation that should be in effect in time for the 2014 elections.