EDITOR’S NOTE: Contained in the postscript to this article is an executive summary of the University of New Mexico “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by the UNM Political Science Department. The report is very enlightening revealing much information about New Mexico voters, demographics, voter attitudes on election security, mail in ballots, ballot privacy, identification for voting, in person voting, voter confidence election, voter fraud, and the differing attitudes of Biden versus Trump voters, the electoral college versus popular election vote for president, rank choice voting and publicly financing of campaigns. The report answers the question, at least in New Mexico, just how secure voters felt about the 2020 election.
For the last 18 months, former President Trump has constantly said that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged, that he actually won by a landslide, despite failing to offer a scintilla of evidence. Upwards of 56 federal lawsuits challenging the 2020 Presidential elections, especially in battleground states that Trump lost, were dismissed as being frivolous with no evidence of fraud offered. Many of the cases were dismissed by federal judges he appointed, including those on the United State Supreme Court.
The truth is that 2020 election was the most secured election in United State history. Federal Courts at all levels, including Trump appointees, threw out court challenges and dismissed cases as quickly filed by Der Führer Trump supporters and finding a failure to offer any evidence of voter fraud.
Republicans on the national level, especially in battleground states, have all bought into Der Führer Trump’s arguments that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen from him. Republican Party’s in control of state legislatures have enacted sweeping election laws making it harder to vote and making it easier for mail in ballot rejections and to set aside elections by Republican controlled legislatures.
The State of Texas is a good example as to how far Republicans are going to affect election outcomes by simply not counting votes. On March 16, 2022, it was reported thousands of Texas voters had their mail ballots rejected in this month’s primary, after the state’s controversial new voting law created additional ID requirements. Local election officials said the new identification requirements as a result of the Republican-backed law tripped up many eligible voters in the March 1 primary.
An Associated Press analysis released on March 16 found that a total of nearly 23,000 mail ballots were rejected across the majority of Texas’ counties. Most notably, in Harris County, home to Houston, and the state’s most populous county, officials said they rejected a whopping 19% percent of the mail ballots they received, or 6,888 mail ballots in total. During the primary election in 2018, the county had only rejected 135 mail ballots out of more than 48,000, election officials said in a statement. That’s less than 0.3
REPUBLICANS REFUSING TO ACCEPT RESULTS OF ANY SECURED ELECTION
In New Mexico, questions about election irregularities and fraud continue to circulate in Republican dominated counties. In January, the Otero County Commission authorized a $49,750 contract for a countywide review of election records and voter registration information linked to the 2020 general election Trump won nearly 62% of the vote in Otero County in 2020 but county commissioners have said they are not satisfied with assurances of an accurate midterm election in 2022 by their county clerk or results of the state’s risk-limiting audit.
The Otero County Commission accepted a proposal from Echo-Mail, one of the contractors hired by Arizona’s Republican-controlled state senate to review election results in Maricopa County. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver issued a warning about the audit telling area residents to be wary of what she called intrusive questions and potential intimidation by door-to-door canvassers.
State Auditor Brian Colón’s office sent a letter on March 14 to the Otero County commission saying the county is deficient in its ability to properly oversee contract compliance. The letter stated that the audit isn’t in the best interest of residents and amounts to political grandstanding. Colón wrote:
“It appears that the County Commission failed to treat their government position as a public trust and instead used the powers and resources of their public office to waste public resources in pursuit of private interests concerning unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. ”
FAILURE TO ENACT VOTING RIGHTS BILL
The 2022 New Mexico legislature failed to the voting rights bills sponsored by Albuquerque area Democrat Senator Katy Duhigg and Corrales Area Democrat Representative Daymon Ely. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver had made its passage a priority. The Democratic majority floor leaders in both chambers, Santa Fe Senator Peter Wirth of Santa Fe and Albuquerque Representative Javier Martínez of Albuquerque, support the measures
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver passage had this to say about supporting passage of the voting rights bill:
“Even as we’ve seen attempts around the country to make voting more difficult for eligible voters … here in New Mexico we continue to be a leader in how to balance the demands for voter access with the needs of maintaining our high levels of election security.”
Not at all surprising, many New Mexico Republicans followed Republican national talking points when it came to opposing the proposed voting rights bills and said the changes would lead to “fraud and confusion”. Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce went so far as to say the changes will “damage the security and integrity of New Mexico elections.”
The links to quoted news source material is here:
The voting rights bill failed to be enacted by the Senate after passage in the House. Der Führer Trump Republican Senator William Sharer, R-Farmington, effectively killed the measure with a filibuster on the Senate floor. In order to run out the clock on the legislative session, Sharer talked about San Juan River fly-fishing, baseball rules, Navajo Code Talkers and the celestial alignment of the sun and moon during his lengthy filler buster on the Senate floor.
The bill would have done the following:
1. Established a permanent absentee voter list.
2. Allowed voters to sign up once to receive absentee ballots for every general election, rather than having to apply for one each time.
3. Established a Native American voting rights act.
4. Directed counties to offer two secured, monitored drop boxes for absentee ballots.
5. Made it a crime to threaten or intimidate state and county election officials.
6. Restored the voting rights of people convicted of a felony upon release from incarceration, rather than after they’ve completed probation or parole.
DER FÜHRER TRUMP’S BIG LIE: “THE ELECTION WAS RIGGED!”
The “big lie” is the name of a propaganda technique, originally coined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and denotes where a known falsehood is stated and repeated and treated as if it is self-evidently true, in hopes of swaying the course of an argument in a direction that takes the big lie for granted rather than critically questioning it or ignoring it.
On October 27, 2020, exactly one week before the Presidential election, President Trump continued to push his own “big lie” about our Presidential election and had this to say:
“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.”
Since day one after losing the 2020 Presidential election, Der Führer Former President Trump has claimed without evidence that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Trump has also periodically attacked former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021, after hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the United States Capitol in a bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president and took over the House Chamber to stop of the process.
On January 29, 2022 “Der Führer” Trump angerly lashed out at a rally in Conroe, Texas against the ongoing criminal investigations in New York, Georgia and Washington. Trump went so far as to call on his supporters to stage mass protests if he is “mistreated” by prosecutors, ostensibly meaning if he is charged or indicted for crimes. Trump said:
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt.”
Trump also said he would “consider” pardoning defendants charged in connection with the January 6 , 2021 Capitol riot if he returns to the White House and said:
“Another thing we’ll do, and so many people have been asking me about it, if I run and if I win we will treat those people from January 6 fairly. … And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”
TRUMP’S HISTORY OF PUSHING THE BIG LIE
During a 2016 presidential debate in which Trump had faced off against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, FOX news caster Mike Wallace asked then candidate Trump if he was prepared to concede to the winner, if he didn’t win. “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense,” Trump said during the debate. He had also said that if he did not win it meant the election was rigged.
Fast forward to July 15, 2020. In an exclusive wide-ranging interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, President Trump was asked if he was “a good loser”. Trump said that he wasn’t a good loser and he went on to add that he thinks “mail-in voting is going to rig the election.” This led Wallace to ask whether Trump may not accept the results of the election and Trump said “We’ll have to see.”
On September 23, Trump was asked at a press conference if he would “commit to a peaceful transferal of power” if he lost the election, Trump said:
“Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens. … You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster … Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful … there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”
PART OF THE BIG LIE IS THAT MAIL IN VOTING IS FRAUDUELENT
Since the Wallace interview, Trump has engaged in repeated attacks on mail in voting as a pathway to voter fraud. It is a claim that is largely unsubstantiated and is an outright lie that Trump keeps repeating.
In April, Trump responding to a question about Wisconsin wanting to go to mail-in ballots said:
“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters. … They’re fraudulent in many cases.”
Trump has also said that any expansion of mail ballots would lead to widespread fraud. Attorney General William Barr for his part said people should need an excuse to vote by mail. Trump has said no-excuse absentee voting is fine but claimed the Postal Service couldn’t handle the increase in election mail.
Trump laid the foundation to dispute the election outcome with his incessant lies that “mail-in ballots” will result in a rigged election.
Trump’s false claims have been used as an excuse for the Republican Party to purge voter-registration rolls, limit mail-in ballots, close polling stations in minority areas and challenge in-person voting by minorities. The best example was with the state of Texas where Governor Abbot ordered only one polling place or drop off for ballots per county that has millions residents and requiring hours of driving to hand deliver ballots.
Election experts say Trump’s critiques of mail-in voting is just another one of his many lies. Instead, what happened is that mail in voting improved voter turnout on the whole and there is little evidence that it had a partisan effect by benefitting one party over the other.
The experts were proven right that mail in voting improved voter turnout overwhelmingly. Over 71 million people cast their ballots in 2020 with early voting or mail in voting around the United States, surpassing the 58.3 million total pre-election votes cast in 2016. That’s almost half of the total presidential votes cast four years ago.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The postscript to this blog article gives a summary of the UNM 2020 Election Administration and Voter Security Report. Taken as a whole, it makes it clear just how fragile our democracy can be by just spreading the big lie and Republicans are not at interested in free elections and access to the ballot. What Republicans want is absolute control of the ballot box to ensure that the only votes to be counted are those votes that will ensure Republican victory.
Nationally, legislatures controlled by Republicans in red states are making major changes to their election laws to give Republicans in charge of administering election counts the power to merely invalidate election results and votes and making it as difficult as possible to vote in order to suppress voter registrations and invalidate election outcomes. Simply put, the goal of Republicans is not election security but to make sure that only those votes cast for Republicans are the votes that are counted.
What Der Führer Trump and Republican shills like Der Führer Party Chairman Steve Pearce always argue is that any changes to election laws that make it easier to register to vote and to vote “damage the security and integrity of elections” without offering any proof. The only damage to the security and integrity of our elections is when Republicans like Trump and Pierce undermine the credibility of elections with the big lies.
No doubt Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was disappointed in the New Mexico legislature failure to enact the voting rights bill all because of a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Notwithstanding, she can take great comfort in the findings of the “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by the University of New Mexico. The report is a clear reflection she has done her job well and it is a testament to her success despite Republican obstructionist doing whatever they can to prevent access to the ballot.
One thing is certain, during the 2023 legislatives session, the efforts to enact a voting rights act must be renewed.
2020 NEW MEXICO ELECTION ADMINISTRATION, VOTER SECURITY, AND ELECTION REFORM REPORT
On January 26, the “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by University Of New Mexico Political Science Department was released. It is the 8th time such a post-election report has been prepared released by UNM. It was prepared with the assistance from the Secretary of State’s Office using funds from the Help America Vote Act. This research is conducted to help guide New Mexico election policy and incorporate public understanding of the process into those reforms. It is also meant to serve as a guide to voters about the health of their state democracy and backdrop of elections in New Mexico. The 2020 election report is 132 pages long and contains numerous graphs and statistics. Click here to read the full report:
This blog article is an edited summary of the report with headiness and categories.
OVERVIEW OF THE 2020 NEW MEXICO PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION
“There were 1,330,910 registered voters in the 2020 general election. Of those, 928,230 New Mexicans voted. This represents the largest turnout in recent NM history with a statewide turnout rate of 69.7% for registered voters and 61.3% of eligible voters.
Democrats made up 48% of registered voters, but only 46% of voters in 2020. Republicans made up 31% of registered voters, but 34% of voters. Decline-to-State (DTS) and other party members made up 24% of registered voters, but only 18% of voters.
Seventy percent of NM counties are landslide counties, and nearly 2/3 (66%) of 2020 voters live in a landslide county. Landslide counties are counties where the difference between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidate is larger than 20%. 45% of voters live in blue counties, while 21% of voters live in red counties. 35% of 2020 voters voted by mail, 49% voted early in-person, and 16% voted on Election Day.
Historically there are only small differences in vote mode decisions across partisan groups. But in 2020 Democrats (45%) were more likely to vote-by-mail than “Decline to State/Other (34%), and Republicans (22%).”
“54% of 2020 voters were women, with men comprising the other 46%. These are the same percentages [as] … in 2018. Women make up 53% of registered voters, which suggests that women have a slightly higher turnout rate than men.
Women are far more likely to identify as a Democrat than men (49% vs 40%). Men are more likely to be DTS/other than women (26% vs. 22%). Men are also more likely to be GOP than women (34% vs 29%).”
“Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 made up a larger proportion of voters in 2020 (13%) than they did in 2018 (10%). Voters ages 30-44 made up 21% of voters, voters ages 45-64 made up 34%, and voters age 65 and over made up 31% of the electorate.
NM recently adopted very open policies for voter choice, such that voters who request an absentee VBM ballot could change their mind and vote a regular ballot in-person. To do so, voters are required to sign an affidavit indicating that they did not vote their absentee ballot. A small proportion (.9%) of voters, but a large number (33,309) of voters took advantage of this option. Given the large number of voters who took this option, it appears to be both a popular and an effective policy …”
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS FROM VOTER EXPERIENCES WITH VOTING PROCESS AND VOTER CONFIDENCE
“Vote-By-Mail voters typically only made up about 10% of voters in the last several elections, but in 2020 that number more than tripled to 35%. 22% percent of voters indicated they chose to vote by mail because of COVID, while other reasons for voting by mail included being out of town (3%), convenience (18%), other obligations on Election Day (2%), and a physical disability (3%).
About three-fifths (59%) of vote by mail were completed online. A little over three in ten voters (32%) returned the received-in-mail application forms requesting an absentee ballot. About 4% of voters indicated they used a 3rd party vote by mail request, and 8% contacted the county clerk by phone, email, or in-person to request one.
Absentee voters frequently logged on to their voter registration record to see if their ballot arrived at the county clerk’s office or to check their voter registration. [It was recommended] adding a feature that provides information on whether the voter’s ballot was accepted for counting.”
The following three questions were asked:
(1) “Who returned your ballot or dropped it in the mail?”
(2) “Did you return someone else’s ballot?” and
(3) If so, “Whose ballot did you return?”
Nearly nine in ten (87%) voters returned their ballots themselves. One in ten voters (10%) indicated that a member of their family returned their ballot. About one in 100 voters (1%) said a friend returned their ballot. About two in ten voters (17%) indicated they returned someone else’s ballot.
Of those who indicated they returned another voters’ ballot, nearly three in four (73%) indicated the ballot belonged to their spouse, while 15% of voters said they returned a parent’s ballot and 15% indicated they returned a child’s ballot. Over one in ten voters (12%) returned another family member’s ballot, and one in 100 returned their friend’s ballot.
[It was also asked of] voters who returned someone else’s ballot: “How many ballots did you return?” 73% returned one or two ballots, while about 12% returned three, 4% returned four, and 3% returned five. No one indicated that they returned more than 5 ballots.
[It was found] that 64% of vote by mail voters mailed their ballot through the USPS, with the remaining 36% of voters dropping it off at an early vote location, ballot drop box, or county clerk office.
NM law requires that ballots be returned by either the voter or an immediate family member … .
The outside envelope to vote by mail ballots has a place to indicate if it is not being returned by the voter and their relationship to the voter.
[Observing mail balloting] … different jurisdictions handle ballots not returned by the voter differently. In some cases, ballots were being set aside if the person delivering the ballot was not an immediate family member, in other cases they were not. We asked a person in charge of a vote by mail precinct and she indicated that in previous years ballots were not processed if they were not delivered by a parent or child of a voter, however, this year the vote by mail precinct boards were instructed to count all the ballots regardless of who delivered them.
There was a change in statute in 2019 regarding the issue of 3rd party vote by mail ballot delivery. The new language indicates it is a “violation of law for any person who is not an immediate family member to collect and deliver a ballot.” But there are no consequences for violating the law, and, therefore the law does not effectively prevent ballot harvesting. [It is recommended] clarification since similar laws without consequences in other states have resulted in political parties and other groups engaging in ballot harvesting.
NM in-person voters, on average, reported waiting about 20 minutes to vote. This is much longer than voters waited in line in 2018 (6 minutes). In NM, Election Day voters were in line for much shorter periods of time than early voters, 13 minutes versus 22 minutes. In 2018 early voting took, on average, 4.5 minutes, and Election Day voting lines averaged 8 minutes.
[Voters were asked] their level of agreement with the statement:
“The poll workers were helpful.”
94% of voters agreed with this statement, with 53% strongly agreeing and 41% agreeing. Roughly 6% of voters disagreed with the above statement.
“To assess ballot privacy, … voters we asked if poll workers looked at their ballot. Only 5% of voters indicated that this happened to them. We also asked if other voters looked at their ballot: 2% responded yes. [It was] found that 2% of voters indicated that another voter in line asked them who they voted for.
Privacy sleeves help to increase voter confidence by protecting ballot privacy. Yet in 2020, [it was found] … that only about one in five voters were offered a privacy sleeve. About 29% of voters in Bernalillo County used a privacy sleeve, with rates of 35% in Colfax, 34% in Socorro, and 52% in Otero. In general, however, it was not broadly used.”
COVID CONTROL GUIDELINES
“Following Center for Disease Control guidelines regarding masks and social distancing in the polling places appears to have been successful. Ninety-six percent of voters agreed with the statement “I felt safe voting in-person.” Only 4% indicated otherwise. We found over nine in ten (97%) voters said that all of the poll workers in their voting center wore a mask. We also found that 89% of voters were standing 6 feet apart inside the polling location.”
EASE IN FINDING POLLS
“Overall, 99% of voters indicated their polling station was easy to find. Relatedly, we also found that the vast majority of voters (92%) did not feel that they had to go far out of their way to vote, regardless of whether they voted early or on Election Day. Over 90% of voters found it easy to park at their polling location.”
“[Voters were asked] what type of identification they provided at the polls. About ½ of in person voters statewide indicated that they provided the poll worker with the minimum identification–their name, address and birth year. But almost three in ten (31%) were asked for or provided a photo or non-photo ID. It was estimated that 84% of voters were identified correctly with the minimum voter identification or with the voter’s preferred method, while 16% were identified incorrectly, and about 5% were uncertain. This is very comparable to what we found in 2018.
When we look at this by demographic groups, we find some small differences. For example, Asian voters indicated they were correctly identified the most frequently at 91% of the time, whites reported being identified correctly 87% of the time. Hispanics, biracial and multiracial voters indicated they were correctly identified 82% of the time. Blacks indicated they were correctly identified only 70% of the time, and Native Americans only 75% of the time.
Other demographic groups were more consistent, with men, women, and age groups being correctly identified at about the same rate.”
77% VOTER CONFIDENCE IN STATE ELECTIONS
“Just over half (56%) of voters were very confident and another one in five (21%) were somewhat confident that their vote was counted correctly. Thus, about three in four voters (77%) were very or somewhat confident that their ballot was counted correctly. About one in ten voters (12%) were not too confident and another one in ten (11%) were not at all confident (5%).
Similar results are seen for county level voter confidence with 74% of voters indicating they were very (54%) or somewhat (20%) confident, while 16% stated that they are not confident, with 10% not too and 6% not at all confident.
A majority (70%) of voters indicated their confidence in state-level results, with 51% reporting high confidence and 19% medium confidence. 29% were not confident with 14% not too confident and 15% not at all confident.”
59% VOTER CONFIDENCE IN NATIONAL ELECTION
Voters were least confident of the national results, with about three in five voters (59%) indicating they were very (41%) or somewhat (18%) confident and about two in five voters (41%) indicating they are not too (13%) or not at all (28%) confident.
The average Democratic voter had a confidence level of 3.81 out of 4, close to “very confident.” But the average personal voter confidence for Republicans was much lower, at 2.48. This would correlate with somewhere between “not too confident” and “somewhat confident.”
“Decline to State” and third-party voters had an average score of 3.16, which puts them close to “somewhat confident.” Individual experiences matter to voter confidence. Feelings that ballot privacy was protected increases confidence. 21% of voters who thought their ballot privacy was not well protected were confident, compared to 72% of voters who thought their ballot privacy was protected. However, it is important to note that only 6% of all voters thought their privacy was not protected.
Helpful poll workers also increase voter confidence. Only 10% of voters who thought a poll worker was not helpful were very confident, compared to 50% of voters who thought their poll worker was helpful.
Similarly, having a positive interaction with the county clerk or the Secretary of State’s office improves voter confidence. For example, one third of voters who were not satisfied with their county clerk’s response when contacted were very confident, while 72% of those who were very satisfied were very confident.
Vote confidence was not dependent on voters’ method of returning their ballot. Voters who dropped off their ballot in-person were equally confident as those who mailed it in.
More than one-third (37%) of voters believe that their vote is not secret, while just over one-quarter (27%) believe that it is. The remainder (36%) were unsure.
Voters who agreed that election officials could not access their voting records had an average personal confidence of 3.79. Voters who thought their records were accessible by officials had a personal confidence of 2.75, a full one-point difference. For those who didn’t know, the difference was 0.4 points (average 3.39). Given the incredible size of the gap, we recommend a campaign to inform voters that their ballot is secret and how that secrecy is maintained throughout the process.
This year we sampled and surveyed a random cross section of early and VBM voters both prior to and after the election. We compared these groups to see how winning and losing affected attitudes toward voter confidence.
BIDEN VOTERS VERSUS TRUMP VOTERS
“The results show that, even before the election, Biden voters were more confident in the election processes than Trump voters, but the size of the gap varies by level of administration. In the pre-election wave, national confidence was the closest, with only a 0.32 spread between the two groups, followed by personal confidence’s 0.38 spread.
After the election, Biden voters’ confidence levels increased, while Trump voters’ decreased. Biden voters increases were moderate for personal, county, and state, ranging from 0.25 (personal) to 0.38 (county), but at the national level, the increase was quite large increasing over a full point (1.03). Trump supporters’ confidence decline ranged from -0.47 to -0.81 with the lowest decline at the state level (-.47) and the largest declines at both the personal (-.80) and national (-.81) levels. County confidence decreased by nearly three-fifths of a point (-.59).
These changes in confidence post-election led to increasing voter confidence polarization across party supporters and consequently larger gaps between voting groups. The gap was monotonic, increasing between Biden and Trump voters as the level of administration increased from personal to national. Thus, the postelection gap was 1.46 points for personal confidence, but was 2.16 points for national confidence.
This suggests that the impact of winning and losing is rather large, substantially increasing the gap once the winner is known. For example, the gap is 3.8 times larger for post-election voter confidence at the personal level and 6.75 times larger at the national level.”
KEY FINDINGS ABOUT BALLOT PRIVACY, POSSIBILITY OF VOTER COERCION, FRAUD, AND ATTITUDES TOWARD ELECTION REFORMS
“Three-quarters (74%) of voters were at least sometimes asked by family and friends who they voted for. The remaining one out of four (26%) voters were rarely (16%) or never asked (10%) their candidate preference.
When asked by a friend or family member which candidate a voter preferred, most voters named a candidate most of the time (23%) or almost all of the time (48%). Fewer voters sometimes (16%), rarely (6%), or never (13%) named a candidate.
An overwhelming majority of voters were always (85%) or mostly (8%) truthful in naming the candidate they preferred when asked. Fewer voters were sometimes (4%), rarely (1%) or never (2%) truthful in stating the candidate they preferred.”
“… Voters were asked if they believed that others could find out who they voted for without their personal disclosure. The questions were:
1) “How easy or hard do you think it would be for politicians, union officials, or the people you work for to find out who you voted for, even if you told no one?”
2) “Do you think elected officials can access voting records and figure out who a voter had voted for?”
Roughly one in six voters (16%) think that it is impossible for someone to find out who another person voted for, and another 12% indicated they didn’t know, leaving over 70% of voters believing it is possible to learn someone’s vote choices without their consent. Interestingly, one-third said it is somewhat or very easy.
A plurality of voters (38%) believed that elected officials are able to learn who voters chose on their ballots. 28% of voters do not believe elected officials can determine their vote, and another 34% indicated they did not know.
There appears to be a partisan dimension to ballot privacy, with more Democrats (25%) believing it is impossible for others to find out who they voted for compared to independents (12%) and Republicans (7%).”
COERSION IN VOTING
“Nearly four out of five NM voters (79%) said they did not have anyone try to convince, tell, threaten, or mark their ballot for a candidate they did not prefer to vote for.
For those one in five voters (21%) who did report that they experienced one or more persuasive or coercive actions, 18% experienced someone trying to convince them to vote a particular way, 13% experienced someone telling them to vote for a certain candidate, and 3% were threatened. Hardly anyone (0.2%) experienced someone marking their ballot for them.
[Voter were given] a list of possible illegal election activities and asked, “Which of the following situations did you personally observe in the 2020 general election?” Over three-quarters (77%) of NM voters indicated they did not personally witness any of these election fraud or irregular voting activities. 21% indicated they saw one or more election problems and 3% gave no response.
Of the illegal activities listed, the highest response was for unsolicited absentee ballots that 11 did not belong to anyone in the household arriving at the voter’s residence. This occurred 7% of the time, a surprisingly high frequency.
Given the high percentage of responses from voters who received ballots for other voters not living in the household, it was recommended to the Secretary of State to consider instructions to voters about what to do when they receive such ballots. In addition, it was … [recommended to the Secretary of State] to set up an online registry that voters can use to identify and report these erroneous ballots so that the [Secretary of State] can determine why ballots are being sent to wrong locations and their implications for ballot security and chain of custody issues.
Voters were allowed to indicate if they were unsure about how frequently an activity may occur within the state. Across the 13 illegal activities, don’t know responses ranged from 13%-33%. For one activity, tampering with ballots to change votes, the don’t know response was the mode (33%).
Among all possible activities … examined, voters were most concerned about the possibility the Secretary of State would make rules that favor one party or another. Nearly half (41%) of voters believe this happens at least some of the time with 21% indicating it happens all or most of the time and another 20% indicating it happens some of the time.”
“Voters are split on the prevalence of non-US citizens voting in NM. Over one in three voters (36%) believe that non-US citizens vote all or most of the time (16%) or some of the time (20%), compared to 36% of voters who believe that non-US citizens hardly ever (21%) or never (15%) vote.
About 3 in 10 voters (29%) believe that someone pretends to be another person and casts a vote for them, while 51% believe it happens not much of the time (9%), hardly ever (21%), or never (21%).
About three in ten New Mexicans believe that voters are intimidated into voting for someone other than their preferred candidate most or some of the time. A similar proportion believe that voted absentee ballots are stolen and thrown away after being submitted.
Despite the rhetoric of the 2020 election regarding fraud, [the study] found that belief in fraud was less in 2020 than it was in 2008.
[Voters were] asked if they personally witnessed election or voter fraud in any election they participated in and if it changed the outcome of that election. 8% of voters said they witnessed election or voter fraud in a previous election. Among these, over one in three thought that the fraud changed the outcome of the election, while two in five (41%) indicated it did not.”
“[Respondents] were asked the degree to which they agreed with the statement:
“Photo identification should be required for each voter at the polls.”
77% of voters support voter ID requirements (with 57% indicating they strongly agree and 20% indicating they somewhat agree).
A majority of voters in all partisan groups support voter identification policies. It was found found that 61% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 96% of Republicans support voter ID laws.”
ACCESS TO BALLOT VERSUS FRAUD PROTECTION SPLIT ALONG PARTY LINES, ETHNICITY AND EDUCATION
“[Respondents were asked]:
“Thinking about elections and election reforms, which is more important to you, ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote or protecting the voting system against fraud?”
In 2020, just over half (51%) indicated that ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote is more important, while 46% indicated that it was protecting the system against fraud, and 3% said don’t know.
Nearly 78% of Democrats, compared to 18% of Republicans, believe it is more important to ensure that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote. Republicans express similar support in the opposite direction. 79% of Republicans believe that protecting the system against fraud is more important than expanding the franchise, compared to nearly two in ten Democrats.
Gender does appear to influence responses. Women expressed more support for ensuring everyone has access to the vote (55%) than protecting the system against fraud (41%). 3% percent responded they don’t know. Women are more likely to be Democrats, so this finding is also related to partisanship.
Black and Native American voters were the most likely racial groups to feel it was important to ensure everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (60% and 61%, respectively) over protecting the system against fraud (37% and 36%, respectively).
Whites also were more likely to support ensuring everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (53%) compared to protecting the system against fraud 45%.
Hispanics and Asian Americans were the most likely groups to feel that protecting the system from fraud was more important (51% and 62%, respectively) than ensuring everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (47% and 36%, respectively).
Consistent with previous reports, more educated voters showed greater support for ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote. 60% of voters with at least a college degree indicated it was more important to ensure the right to vote, compared to only 38% of voters with a high school degree.
57% of voters with a high school degree indicated protecting the system against fraud was more important, compared to 37% of voters with at least a college degree. Education is also correlated with party, which influences these demographic differences.”
VOTER IDENTIFICATION ATTITUDES REFLECT PARTISAN DIVIDE
“To assess how voters feel about the current NM voter ID law, [respondents] were asked:
“New Mexico’s in-person voter ID law requires voters to state their address, name and birth year. Do you think this requirement is: too strict, just right, or not strict enough?”
The findings indicate 55% of voters believe the current law is just right while 42% believe it is not strict enough. 3% of voters said the ID law was too strict. We can see over time that support for the current law has been increasing.
There is a partisan divide related to attitudes towards NM’s voter ID law. Where 81% of Democrats believe the Voter ID law is just right, only 22% of Republicans feel the same. Likewise, 77% of Republicans believe the law is not strict enough, compared to 14% of 13 Democrats. DTS and other party voters indicated that NM’s law was not strict enough, and 52% indicated it was just right.”
ELECTING A PRESIDENT BY POPULAR VOTE
“Respondents were asked:
“How do you think we should elect the President: should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”
60% of voters supported electing the President based on who received the most votes across the U.S. and that 39% of voters believe we should keep the current Electoral College system.
This number is similar to the 62% found in 2012, 2016, and 2018, but significantly less than the 72% found in 2014.
In 2020, 83% of Democrats, 31% of Republicans, and 54% of Independents supported selecting the candidate who wins the most popular votes nationally to serve as President.
Nearly three-quarters of voters (74%) support the change to keep the last four of a voter’s Social Security Number as part of the vote by mail ballot integrity; only 14% indicated a signed affidavit was enough. 12% indicated they don’t know.”
ALL MAIL IN BALLOT
Respondents were asked:
“New Mexico should move to permanent all-mail elections.”
Overall, more than 7 out of 10, or 72%, of New Mexico voters disagreed with moving to all-mail elections. A majority (52%) of voters disagreed with it strongly, another one in five (20%) voters somewhat disagreed. Only 9% of voters strongly agreed that we should move to all-mail elections and another almost one in five (19%) somewhat agreed.
While a majority of all partisan groups are opposed to moving to all mail elections, we do find a large disparity between groups. While 94% of Republicans are opposed, only 76% of independents and 53% of Democrats disagree with the potential change.
A majority (51%) of VBM voters supported moving to all mail elections, but a huge majority of in-person early (83%) and Election Day voters (88%) expressed disagreement with moving to all-mail elections. Clearly experiencing the VBM process increases support for this election change, but even for those voters there is not a huge swell of support for all mail elections.
RANK CHOICE VOTING
“Respondents were asked:
“Ranked choice voting or instant run-off voting is an election reform that allows voters to rank candidates from their favorite to least favorite.”
A plurality of voters were unsure about this reform (41%), followed by 32% in favor and 26% opposed.
When … voters [were asked how they feel] about Rank Choice Voting in cities where it has been implemented we find that the mode moves from “don’t know” to support for RCV, but it is not majority support. About two in five voters support RCV in the city of Las Cruces (41%) and the city of Santa Fe (40%), while three in 10 voters (31%) support RCV in locations where it has not been used.”
INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
Voter were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the following:
“An Independent Redistricting Commission should be created to determine district boundaries after the 2020 Census.”
In principle, voters support an independent commission, with 79% of voters in support. 47% of voters strongly supported and 32% of voters somewhat 14 supported such a change. A majority of Democrats (82%), independents (81%), and Republicans (75%) support an Independent Redistricting Commission.
Voters were asked:
“Next year NM will draw new district lines in response to the U.S. Census. Do you think: They should create electoral districts that hold communities together even if it means that one party will dominate [or] they should create electoral districts where there is close competition between the two parties, even if it means that communities will be disconnected.”
The modal response was “don’t know” with two in five voters selecting that option (44%). Among partisan groups, Republicans’ mode response was competition (43%), while Democrats’ (48%) and independents’ (42%) was still don’t know.
PUBLICALLY FINANCED CAMAPIGNS
“[Voters were asked if] they agreed with the statement:
“All candidates for elected offices should be eligible to receive public financing for their campaigns.”
Voters were evenly split. Half indicated support for public financing and half did not, suggesting a decrease from 2018, when 65% were in support. Support for public financing also differed by party. A majority of Republicans (61%) and DTS/other (54%) voters did not support public financing, while a majority of Democrats (61%) supported it.”