Bill would prohibit intimidation of election workers

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Jan. 26—SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has authorized legislators to take up a proposal designed to protect election workers by making it a crime to threaten employees working for county clerks or the secretary of state.

The proposal, Senate Bill 144, is sponsored by Sen. Katy Duhigg, an Albuquerque Democrat and former city clerk.

"Election officials at all levels, from the secretary of state down to your local polling official, have been harassed, threatened, and generally discouraged from being part of our democratic process since 2020," Duhigg said. "It's very important that our democracy continue to thrive, and it can only do that if we have a continued influx of professionals and citizen volunteers who come to these important jobs to conduct elections in a fair and nonpartisan manner."

Officials in New Mexico have reported racist mail, being followed and other threats. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver left home for weeks in 2020 after her personal information was published on a website called "Enemies of the People," with targets over officials' photos.

In even years, it requires the governor's approval for lawmakers to take up bills on certain topics.