Only 20 voters have taken advantage of the free voter identification provided by the city in preparation for the Tuesday’s special election. And, according to City Clerk Steve Ruger, only about two of those people actually needed to get the voter ID card at all.
“Most of them already had ID,” he said.
He said there is some misinformation being spread on television news that voters are required to have the city-issued identification. In fact, almost any form of picture identification will work, he said. The city identification is provided to accommodate those who don’t have a picture ID.
The most common form of picture identification would be a driver’s license, but virtually any form of identification with the voters’ name and photo will do, he said. And, Ruger was quick to point out, city staff is happy to print out a voter ID card for any registered Rio Rancho voter who asks for it. It is the right of all the city’s voters to have one made up, should they ask for it, he said.
To obtain a city-issued ID, go to the city clerk’s office in Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last chance to get one for Tuesday’s election is noon Monday, Ruger said.
This is the first election in Rio Rancho where some form of photo identification is required. Nearly 82 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the change in March 2012. The measure passed with 3,840 in favor and 866 against.
There were nearly 5,000 people who voted in the 2012 election, or a little less than 10 percent of all registered voters.
Although the requirement for voter identification is new to the City of Vision, requiring picture identification at the polls isn’t really a new concept for New Mexico. Albuquerque already requires voters to present identification, according to New Mexico Bureau of Elections spokesman Kenneth Ortiz.
He added that many states have begun requiring voters to identify themselves as well.
“There are no federal laws regarding the use of a voter ID. There are lots of state laws which indicate a requirement for some form of identification, or address requirements for being able to vote,” he said.
Voter identification cards are available to anyone who is registered to vote in Rio Rancho and comes by the city clerk’s office with two official documents.
State-issued identification cards, student IDs, bank statements, insurance cards, union cards, utility bills, social security cards, library cards, selective service cards, professional association cards, paychecks, and government checks can all be used.
Or a person can come in with none of the above and simply sign a statement to affirm they are who they say they and “shall be issued a voter photo identification card upon confirmation with the county clerk that such person is registered to vote,” according to the city’s website.
Anyone who comes out to vote without identification will be issued a provisional ballot, which are counted by the canvassing board only if the voter presents identification within the three-day canvassing period.
A few other stats on voting, as of Aug. 12, are:
• Rio Rancho has approximately 56,800 registered voters;
• 1,149 early votes have been cast;
• 116 absentee ballots have been filled out and returned to Rio Rancho City Hall;
• 49 absentee ballots sent out by City Hall that have not yet been returned; and
• 47 applications for provisional ballots sent out by Rio Rancho have not yet been returned.
Anyone who is not able to go to the regular polling places can still make the deadline for casting an absentee ballot, Ruger pointed out, but meeting the deadline to cast an absentee ballot may be a bit more tricky at this point. Call the city clerk’s office, 891-5004, for more information.
The city clerk’s office will also make up voter identification cards on any weekday now through Monday at noon. The office is at Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle, and is open from 8 am. to 5 p.m.