top of page

Debunking Voter Myths

Myth # 1

I can’t locate my voter registration card to take with me to the polling location. If I don’t have it, I won’t be allowed to vote.

You can always check your voter registration status at's voter information portal and print the voter information page and keep it in your wallet if you wish. Here in New Mexico, you don’t have to present your voter information card or identification to vote in a statewide election. The one exception to needing to provide photo ID is for first-time New Mexico voters who registered by mail and did not include identification with their voter registration forms.


Even if you filled out all information on the paper form correctly but did not submit the required ID when you turned in your application to register, you’ll be asked for one of the required forms of ID when you vote either in person or via absentee for the first time after registering.


The ID required is either a copy of (1) a current and valid photo identification; or (2) a current utility bill, bank statement, government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo, that shows your name and current address.


If you sent your complete registration with the required docs, you’re good to go. However, if you have your voter registration card, it’s always handy to bring it along. Our poll workers can simply read your name from the card and find you more quickly in the system. 

Myth # 2

I always return my absentee ballot by mail. Ballot drop boxes simply aren’t secure.

Voting by mail played a key role in the November 2020 election due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. The Secretary of State’s office launched a limited pilot program of absentee ballot drop boxes at polling sites for that election. In Santa Fe County, those boxes were placed inside polling locations, which meant that voters only had access to those boxes during regular polling hours.

When I took office:

  • I installed permanent drop-off ballot boxes, the most per capita of any county in New Mexico.

  • Voters have access to these boxes 24/7 during elections.

  • We are also the only county to provide drive-up ballot boxes so that voters can drop off ballots without leaving their cars. This is especially helpful for our differently-abled voters.

  • Santa Fe County is also the first county to put GPS tracking on all pickup and drop off secure containers so that our office knows where every ballot is at any given time. Voters can be confident that ballot drop boxes in Santa Fe County are completely secure. Studies also show that having more of these drop boxes available increases voter participation, especially among our Native population. In fact, I am the first county clerk to install a permanent drop box on tribal land in Santa Fe County.

  • Voters can sometimes mail their absentee ballots too late to arrive in our office by 7p.m. on election day. Having ballot drop boxes 24/7 removes that time barrier and relieves voters of the concern, “Did I get my absentee ballot in the mail in time?”

Myth # 3

I forgot to sign my mail in ballot. Now my vote won't be counted

Most ballot rejections are the result of minor voter errors, like a voter forgetting to sign the ballot. Here in New Mexico, we have a process called ballot curing, which helps voters fix these errors.

Within a day of receiving an absentee ballot, our office opens the privacy flap to verify that the voter signed the outer envelope, and to confirm that the last four digits of the social security number provided by the voter matches the info on their voter registration. If we don’t find a signature or the social security numbers don’t match, we proactively reach out to the voter to correct the errors. In my office we call, email and knock doors to get those ballots cured. I’ve personally gone to voters’ homes because no legitimate voter’s ballot should ever be rejected simply because of a technical error.


Our curing process, more accessible drop-off ballot boxes and the ballot tracking system I initiated when I took office has led to a low ballot rejection rate. 

Myth # 4

Same-day voter registration encourages fraud and creates chaos at the polls.

Making it easier to vote is the key to increasing turnout, and same-day voter registration plays a vital role in breaking down barriers to voting. Same-day registration has been especially helpful in boosting turnout in under-represented groups. And when it comes to same-day registration, technology is our friend. Our poll workers use a statewide database managed by the Secretary of State’s office to verify voter information as people register. 

Same-day voter registration also benefits those previously registered voters who lose their eligibility simply because they’ve moved and haven’t had a chance to change their registration. Sometimes there are bureaucratic errors that prevent legitimate voters from being added to the voter rolls and these errors aren’t discovered until registration deadlines have passed. Without same-day voter registration and being able to update records, these voters would lose their voice.


During my tenure, our office opted to offer same-day voter registration at every polling site on election day when it was optional, and I supported same-day registration being required at every polling site even on election day throughout the state which is now law.

Myth # 5

Early voting results can’t be reliable. How can anyone report reliable results immediately after the polls close?

Election results reported immediately after the polls close are referred to as unofficial results.


Upon taking office, I immediately streamlined procedures in our office to speed up election night reporting. In fact, we know from cognitive science (my undergraduate degree) that folks waiting for more than 14 minutes begin to doubt the process or become angry. Therefore, in elections, it’s important to run an operation organized enough to report quickly.

Here in New Mexico, the law allows us to preprocess mail ballots and scan them into tabulators prior to election day, which expedites results. Under my tenure we have always been organized and able to start early to ensure we are done before election night. In fact, in the last 3 elections, we have reported early results before every other county. Coupled with other technological best practices, including same-day registration which minimizes provisional ballots, we produce unofficial results which turn out to be almost exactly the same as canvassed results that are reported in a four-step auditing process later. New Mexico has the best ballot auditing and verification system in the country.

Myth # 6

Technology will replace paper ballots.

Nearly all ballots cast by America’s voters are tabulated by computers. While technology may do the counting, our ballots are still paper ballots. And it is vital that we continue to use paper ballots in all elections. Paper ballots provide a tangible record of all votes cast in an election, a record that can be audited. A paper trail provides a reliable way to ensure that computers have not been compromised and that votes have not been altered. However, pre-tabulation, and better organization and more effective procedures allow us to both improve efficiency and keep a paper trail.


bottom of page