During several hours of testimony from both sides on SB 8 (full write-up of the latest version here) numerous supporters of the legislation cited “Jim Crow” and voter suppression and numerous other reasons for the legislation which, among other provisions, would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote.
Now, setting aside the fact that record numbers of New Mexicans turned out to vote in 2020, we at the Rio Grande Foundation fail to see the further loosening of New Mexico’s already-loose election laws as a solution to what seems like a nonexistent problem.
But, “democracy” is more than just casting votes. It is also about accountability for our political leaders. So, it is frankly bizarre that after two full sessions and a few special sessions, the Legislature STILL has not seriously-considered limiting the power of one person, our Gov., in a so-called emergency. The current situation is NOT democratic or even befitting of a democratic-republic.
Unfortunately, when it comes to voting and allowing 16-17 year olds to vote in local elections, age is an arbitrary number. But, why not a well-informed 9 year old or a 12 year old? Should we require some kind of test of the basic workings of our government in order to vote? The truth is that most ill-informed 16 and 17 year olds turn into ill-informed 18 year olds, but at least at 18 you are legally responsible for yourself and you can get a full-time job to support yourself.
There are numerous problems with the push for expanded voting and the fact that SB 8 went through three iterations before its first committee illustrates that point.