How New Mexico makes sure elections are secure

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – You’ve likely heard people concerned about “voter fraud” and “election security.” But what do the terms actually mean — and how does New Mexico secure its elections?

To find out, KRQE News 13 reviewed state laws and spoke with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Her office is in charge of administering the state’s elections.

What is a secure election?

“Election security involves a number of areas. It involves cyber security — making sure that our systems and networks and anything computer-related that has to do with voting voter information, casting a vote, or counting the vote are protected,” Toulouse Oliver says. “It also means physical security — making sure that the physical security of our polling locations is being addressed, that our voting machines and ballots, before and after elections, are being protected.”

“It just really encompasses a wide variety of issues,” she adds. “And it also means having laws and processes in place to ensure that only eligible voters are casting a ballot.”

In New Mexico, elections are protected by state laws, called the Election Code. These laws have been around for decades. Although there have been several amendments, or changes, over the years, the key purpose still stands.

According to N.M. Stat. § 1-1-1.1, the purpose is to “secure the secrecy of the ballot, the purity of elections and guard against the abuse of the elective franchise. It is also the purpose of the Election Code to provide for efficient administration and conduct of elections.”

Written into state law are several requirements intended to do just that. These include a requirement that elections use a paper ballot, and certified voting systems, and that “crowding or confusion” is not allowed at polling places.

Who is in charge of election security?

Broadly speaking, the secretary of state is in charge of overseeing state elections and voting. The law gives the secretary of state the ability to do things like inspect and test voting systems and keep voter records safe from theft or…