Voter registration is a part of the regulatory machinery intended to protect the right to vote. A qualified voter is registered where such is required as a condition for voting. Voter registration ensures that only eligible persons vote. The state legislature has the power to enact reasonable provisions for the purpose of requiring persons who are electors and who desire to vote to show that they have the necessary qualifications.
Voter registration laws generally should be impartial, uniform, and reasonable and should not violate federal legislation designed to protect the right to vote. Votes that election officials have permitted to be cast without compliance with the requirement of registration are deemed illegal and are not to be counted.
Votes that election officials have permitted to be cast without complying with the registration requirements are deemed illegal and are not to be counted. However, no person acting under color of law may deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record.
There are registration officials who are public officers and often considered agents of the state. Some state statutes may require the board of registrars to notify the elector of its impending action of removal of the elector’s name from the list of registered voters. An elector is required to register in the time and place determined by law for voter registration. However, such places should be open to the public and the denial of a right to register at a particular place is illegal. Voters may also be permitted to register by mail unless there is a constitutional prohibition to the contrary.
The state statutes shall require an applicant for voter registration to supply the voter’s social security number for internal use by the Board. The social security number helps in identifying voter duplication and tracking convicted felons who are not qualified to vote. Registration may be compelled by a federal court for members of racial minorities who have been deprived of their voting rights by state officials through unlawful discriminatory practices.
In Darr v. Village of Tularosa, 125 N.M. 394 (N.M. Ct. App. 1998), the court held that to be eligible to vote, one must be a qualified elector and only a resident of the municipality can be a qualified elector. The Code requires the county clerk to provide the municipal clerk with a list of registered voters entitled to vote in the municipal election. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 3-8-6 (1978). The residence of a registered voter is presumed to be at the address stated on the voter’s affidavit of voter registration filed with the county clerk.
42 USCS § 1973gg-2 provides that each State shall establish procedures to register to vote in elections for federal office—
- By application made simultaneously with an application for a motor vehicle driver’s license;
- By mail application; and
- By application in person at the appropriate registration site designated with respect to the residence of the applicant in accordance with State law; and at a Federal, State, or nongovernmental office.
However, this section shall not apply to:
- A State in which, under law that is in effect continuously on and after August 1, 1994, there is no voter registration requirement for any voter in the State with respect to an election for Federal office.
- A State in which under law that is in effect continuously on and after August 1, 1994, or that was enacted on or prior to August 1, 1994, and by its terms is to come into effect upon the enactment of this Act [enacted May 20, 1993], so long as that law remains in effect, all voters in the State may register to vote at the polling place at the time of voting in a general election for Federal office.