NM Rep. McCamley, County Clerk Plan Voting Reform

Apr 29, 2014

New Mexico Rep. Bill McCamley and Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins are already working on legislation to make lines at the polls shorter.

At a recent election for the Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District, many of the people who were standing in line waited over an hour before casting their vote.

One man, Michael Flynn, was timing it. His phone read 28:16 as I approached him.

“You have to participate…show up…whether it’s a bond election or a dog catcher election,” said Flynn.

About halfway through the line, Phyllis Roberts did not seem to mind at all.

“Waiting in line is not a problem…we’re very privileged in our country,” said Phyllis Roberts.

Dona Ana County Clerk reminded me this was not a county election. It was a special district election coordinated and financed by the Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District.

“This is a totally different animal. We said we’d help and I’m beginning to think I’m sorry I offered,” said Ellins.

Instead of the typical 38 polling centers, only five were open from 8am until 5pm instead of 7am to 7pm. There was a good reason so many people turned out….it was to vote on whether the District could impose a mill levy…a tax.

“This one is different…when you wanna raise taxes, people get excited,” said Ellins.

Ellins says he wants to work with state Rep. Bill McCamley to introduce legislation to fight unnecessary lines at the polls.

McCamley had his own trouble waiting in line.

“I showed up at 11 o’clock…I had to work…so I went and rushed and got a lot of work done…I went back at 3 o’clock. I waited 90 minutes and was finally able to vote around 4:30,” said Rep. McCamley.

Possible legislation would not come for some time and assumes McCamley is re-elected, but here is what he has in mind.

“It’s cheaper to have one big election…but if you have one big election, you allow for longer hours…makes it easier and makes it more accessible and that’s really what we’re trying to look at here,” said Rep. McCamley.

The mill levy did not pass by a vote of about 2,900 against and 500 for.