COMMENTARY: Democracy works when people actively participate in it. Our vision at the Bureau of Elections is to create a voting culture in our community where all qualified people have access to vote, and it will take a collaborative effort between our office and the community to achieve this.
It is the County Clerk’s mission to provide fair access to all eligible voters to get registered and exercise their right to vote. This year we launched outreach efforts that have already yielded success towards achieving our vision. In the first two months, our outreach team registered 192 voters in the county. We are registering eligible voters throughout the county, from Garfield to Sunland Park.
In addition, we are educating voters about the process. We printed flyers with important dates voters should know and we are planning an advertising campaign leading up to these dates.
This year’s election dates are as follows: The last day to register to vote is May 10, and early voting also begins on this date. Early voting is from May 10-June 4. You can vote early at the Doña Ana Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd., during regular business hours, and additional early voting locations will be open Tuesday through Saturday starting on May 21 and ending on June 4. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 7, and all voting convenience centers (VCC) will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New Mexico has a closed primary. Therefore, to vote in the primary voters must be registered in a major political party, currently Democrat or Republican. For your convenience on primary day, voters can vote at any VCC location. For a list of VCCs, see our website at dacelections.com. Also, call our office at (575) 647-7248 if you would like to receive our monthly newsletter “The Clerk’s Note” with on-going information and outreach events.
Other outreach efforts include our Election Advisory Council, which consists of a diverse group of community members with a shared vision of increasing access to voting for all who are qualified, and our upcoming Voter Registration Agent (VRA) training on March 26. Both of these efforts demonstrate a very important point: that the Clerk’s Office can’t do it alone – we need our community to come together in this collective effort to close the voting gap.
Being a VRA is a responsible duty outlined in state law and not to be taken lightly. A VRA gives people an opportunity to exercise their right to vote and participate in democracy. Hence, a VRA should be well informed, follow the laws, and most importantly, allow all eligible voters to register.
We invite all current VRAs and those who would like to become VRAs to our training on Saturday, March 26 as a refresher course or to become a certified VRA. Our VRA training is open to the public and will be in both English and Spanish. It is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon at the DAC Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd. Thank you to the VRAs who are providing this service to our fellow community members.
The Clerk’s Office is on solid ground and off to an excellent start this year. We have a strong team committed to serving our community and ensuring that people seeking our services have an excellent experience and leave our office satisfied. We do not only serve the community, we are all a part of the community, so let’s join together because democracy starts with us!
Krahling, a Democrat, is Doña Ana County’s chief deputy clerk and is running for clerk this year.