Know Your Vote – New Mexico

Voting is a public way of saying, “Our families count, and all of our families matter!”

Civic participation means getting everyday folks involved in the decisions that affect our families and communities. Election season is an especially important time for us to speak up, and there are many ways we can all get involved in the process, regardless of our citizenship status or whether we can vote.

Elections matter because elected leaders can make decisions that can either help or hurt our families. Politicians pay more attention to communities who vote. Voting is a public way of saying, “Our familias count, and our voices matter!

About Voting in New Mexico

  • You must be 18 or older and a US citizen to vote.
  • You can register to vote online through New Mexico’s Secretary of State Website: You must submit your registration at least 28 days prior to an election.
  • Seventeen-year-olds can register to vote AND vote in the primary elections, as long
    as they turn 18 on or before the general election on November 8.
  • In New Mexico, individuals convicted of a felony cannot vote while incarcerated, on parole,
    or on probation. Those who have completed these terms need to re-register to vote.
  • For polling locations or additional information, you can visit New Mexico’s Secretary of State’s website or contact their Bureau of Elections Office at 505-827- 3600.

What If I Can't Vote?

Regardless of your voting status, you can still make a difference!

  • Encourage and educate people who can vote.
  • Share this guide at your church or with your neighbors, friends, and/or family.
  • Join a community organization that works on issues important to you and your family.

Federal Elected Positions

US President

Heads the executive branch of the federal government. Serves for four years with a two-term maximum.

Key Responsibilities

  • Proposes the federal budget for approval by Congress.
  • Has the power to veto (reject) bills passed by Congress; Congress can overturn a veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
  • Serves as the Commander-inChief of the armed forces.
  • Appoints federal judges and makes lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

What This Means For You

Can take executive action to move Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy or establish work-leave policies for federal contractors.

Recommends funding levels for programs such as childcare, healthcare, and domestic violence services.

Nominates lifetime appointments of judges to Supreme Court who rule on issues such as equal rights, programs such as DAPA and DACA, and women’s access to a wide range of reproductive healthcare.

US CONGRESS • Congress is made up of two separate bodies: The US House of Representatives and the US Senate. Together they form the legislative (law-making) branch of the Federal Government. There are no limits on the number of terms that a member of Congress can serve.

US House Of Representatives

There are 435 members of the US House of Representatives. All seats in the House are up for re-election every two years. The number of representatives from each state is based on population. Currently New Mexico has three representatives

Key Responsibilities

  • Makes and passes federal laws.
  • Decides amount of money that will be spent on federal programs in yearly budget.
  • Determines federal tax guidelines.
  • Can propose changes to the Constitution.
  • Has the power to declare war.

What This Means For You

Approves funding levels for federal programs such as Head Start, Medicaid, Cash Assistance, Social Security, relief for victims of natural disasters, military spending, childcare, healthcare, and domestic violence services.

Creates all federal-level policy, including laws governing immigration, healthcare, criminal justice, education, labor, and environmental protections.

New Mexico Statewide Elected Positions

The following positions are elected statewide, so every registered voter in New Mexico can weigh in on these races.

NM Secretary of State

New Mexico’s chief elections officer. Elected every four years.

Key Responsibilities

  • Oversees the entire election process in New Mexico.
  • Ensures state government is run ethically and in compliance with NM laws.
  • Regulates lobbyists, campaign financing, and political action committees.

What This Means For You

Tests and evaluates voting machines.

Informs voters where to vote, how to request an absentee ballot, and how voters with disabilities or language access needs can request assistance in voting.

NM Public Regulation Commission

Regulates utilities, telecommunications, insurance, and transportation industry. The state is divided into five districts. Each district elects one commissioner every four years and they are elected in staggered terms.

Key Responsibilities

  • Regulates natural gas, electric, telephone, insurance, transportation, water, and sewer companies in New Mexico.
  • Regulates and ensures safe transport of oil and gas through NM pipelines.

What This Means For You

Decides what utilities cost to consumers.

Influences funding levels for subsidies to provide telephone and internet access for rural communities.

Sets rates for ambulances and determines where ambulances can go.

NEW MEXICO STATE LEGISLATURE • The New Mexico legislature is divided into two bodies: the NM State Senate and the NM State House of Representatives. New Mexico legislators meet for 60 days or 30 days, depending on the year, or for special sessions for specific issues.

NM State Senate

The state is divided into 42 State Senate districts and each district elects one senator. Senate seats are elected during presidential election years.

Key Responsibilities

  • Enacts state laws in areas such as state taxes, education, childcare, and conservation of natural resources.
  • Shares budget-making responsibilities with the governor.
  • With a three-fifths vote, can compel the governor to open a special session for state emergencies.

What This Means For You

Makes decisions about state funding priorities, such as for public schools and CHIP/Children’s Medicaid.

Can change regulations governing healthcare clinics, including dental clinics.

Can pass laws affecting tax credits for families.

NM State House Of Representatives

There are 70 State House districts. Each district elects one representative. All State House seats are up for election every two years.

Key Responsibilities

Same as above.

What This Means for You

Same as above.

Local Elected Positions

The following offices are decided by voters in a specific district, area, or city.

County Commission

Three or five elected members who together head county government. Commissioners are elected by residents in specific districts every four years and at least one seat is up for election every two years.

Key Responsibilities

  • Approves annual county budget.
  • Oversees county provision of metropolitan services like county health clinics, public housing, and libraries.
  • Appoints individuals to fill vacancies within the New Mexico State Legislature.

What This Means For You

Influences the level of financial support for programs and services such as community centers, libraries, road projects, and public transportation.

Makes zoning decisions that affect the affordability of housing as well as water use and access.

County Sheriff

Sheriffs are the only locally elected law enforcement positions. Elected every four years by citizens of the locality.

Key Responsibilities

  • In charge of crime investigation and crime prevention.
  • Responsible for all locally operated jails.
  • Responds to calls ranging from felony crimes to civil disputes and traffic control.

What This Means For You

Decides level of collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and can limit or expand ICE’s access to detainee information.

Decides if someone should remain in county jail based solely on suspicion that they may be undocumented.

District Attorney

The state is divided into 13 judicial districts. District Attorneys are elected every four years by members of the district.

Key Responsibilities

  • Screens, files, and prosecutes all criminal cases and some civil cases.
  • Has discretion about which cases to pursue and how to pursue them.
  • Responsible for providing victim advocacy services to victims of crimes.

What This Means For You

Decides what to charge when prosecuting cases, from domestic violence to drugs.

Decides if cases should be referred to drug court or an alternative sentencing program that includes supervision and treatment.

Responsible for prosecuting police officers charged with excessive use of force.