Providing electoral information to Native Americans in New Mexico
Starting in 1978, the Office of the Secretary of State in New Mexico established an avenue to assist Native Americans in the electoral process. Native American interpreters were hired to interpret state election documents in various New Mexico tribal language dialects. These interpreters also informed tribal members about voter information and candidate requirements needed during an election.
In 1988, the Department of Justice, took legal action in New Mexico to extend greater election information to Native Americans based on the minority language assistance amendments to the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. As a result of these actions, the Native American Election Information Program was established in the Office of the Secretary of State, within the Bureau of Elections, to assist in developing voter education projects for 11 New Mexico counties with substantial Native American populations: Bernalillo; Cibola; McKinley; Otero; Rio Arriba; Sandoval; San Juan; Santa Fe; Socorro; Taos; and Valencia.
Over the years, NAEIP has served New Mexico tribes and its tribal members. The goals of the program are to provide voter education and to ensure compliance with the minority language assistance amendments of the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. To accomplish these goals, the program is designed to communicate with Native American voters on a wide range of information, voter and candidacy requirements, electoral process and participation. The program provides technical assistance to New Mexico tribes and New Mexico County Clerks for statutory compliance on the federal and state election laws, oral assistance and voter education programs.