Voter-access bill advances in New Mexico Legislature

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Democrat-backed bill to expand voting access in New Mexico is advancing toward a Senate floor vote. A legislative panel endorsed the bill on a 6-5 vote Thursday, clearing the way for debate on the Senate floor.

Lawmakers have until Feb. 17 to approve bills during a rapid-fire 30-day legislative session.

The bill as recently amended would make Election Day a holiday for public schools, provide convicted felons with the opportunity to register to vote as they exit prison and distribute mail-in ballots year-after-year to people who prefer them.

Currently, absentee ballots are available by request only for each election.