Bernalillo County Clerk
Job Description: Conducts all elections within Bernalillo County. All public records are also filed with the County Clerk’s Office.
Term: Four years (maximum of two terms)
Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Democrat (Incumbent)
1) What experience makes you qualified for this position?
As clerk, I have spent the last one and a half years mastering the complexities and demands of the job. Prior to my appointment, I spent 13 years as a political activist/consultant and worked to register, educate and mobilize voters, requiring extensive work with and knowledge of the Clerk’s Office. I served on the Bernalillo County Board of Voter Registration—the organization that oversees the voter registration removal process—for four years. I also have an M.A. in political science with an emphasis in voting behavior and election systems as well as a B.A. in political science—both from the University of New Mexico.
2) What needs to change in our elections system, and what would you do to make that happen?
I have and would continue to actively advocate for legislation to improve the Election Code. In New Mexico, we have an incredibly complex and often conflicting Election Code. Serious legislative work needs to be done to make the code a true guiding document that is clear and decisive as to how the state should manage elections. Additionally, increasing transparency and accountability in all election processes improves them fundamentally. I have taken a number of steps to ensure transparency and integrity, including spearheading the first-ever post-election audit in New Mexico history, to evaluate the accuracy of our election systems.
3) Do you think the County Clerk's Office has enough oversight?
The best and most effective oversight of the Clerk’s Office should come from the public, whom we serve and to whom we are accountable. To that end, I have opened up the Clerk’s Office in a variety of ways—increasing public information available via the Web; improving our phone system so we are able to answer the public’s questions and expanding participation in the observation of all election processes. To the degree the public can take advantage of these opportunities, then the Clerk’s Office should have ample oversight.
4) What methods would you use to cut down on voter fraud?
Law enforcement is responsible for investigating and prosecuting voter fraud; however, I have and will continue to work to ensure the voter registration rolls are current and correct within the voter registration guidelines established by federal and state law. My staff works to flag suspect documents and to correct and enhance our voter registration database on a daily basis, often conducting independent research to update our records. Voters must also be diligent in the maintenance and upkeep of their own records. To that end, I have implemented voter education efforts to encourage voters to keep their registrations current and correct.
5) What's your strategy for increasing voter registration, and, in that vein, do you support same-day voter registration?
I believe in making registration as easy and accessible to voters as possible. In the last 18 months, my office has dramatically increased its public outreach activities in order to reach out to and register new voters. We work with third-party voter registration agents to ensure they are trained and have the materials they need to conduct voter registration drives. I believe public education is the key to voter registration and have implemented a host of such programs, including expanded information on the Clerk’s Office website. I do support same-day voter registration with a photo ID requirement in New Mexico.
Richard Lloyd Abraham, Republican
Did not respond to questionnaire.
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