Cybersecurity

Traveling Or Living Abroad

Travelling or living abroad presents unique and exciting opportunities to be a citizen in the world. Did you know that New Mexicans who would otherwise be eligible to vote continue to have that right even when they are out of the country? Unfortunately, without proper planning, voting can be challenging and seem burdensome from abroad.

Our office is entrusted to safeguard your personal information and to only share it when required by law. In order to lower the risk of a foreign county attacking our key voting or business registration systems, we generally prevent computers in foreign countries from connecting to them. Unfortunately, when you are in a foreign county, your devices look just like any other device in that county that is trying to reach our systems; consequently, your device will also be prevented from connecting. If you believe that you are being affected by such a block, please email us at sos.helpdesk@state.nm.us and we will help you get the information you need. Time zones and working hours; however, can easily result in delays that can make the process feel difficult and unfriendly.

With just a little planning; however, New Mexicans can avoid this situation and maintain their voice in their local community by voting in elections for which they would normally be eligible. Follow the steps below in order to make sure you are not caught unprepared for an election.

Steps to Vote While Travelling Abroad

If possible, vote early at your county clerk’s office or at one of the early voting locations in your county. Early voting typically starts twenty-eight days prior to an election, so it can be a convenient option for travelers. Be sure to check www.nmvote.org for additional information about voting early.

Before you Leave

  • Check your voter registration at nmvote.org and ensure that it is up to date
  • Use nmvote.org to see if there are any elections coming during your planned travel window
  • Use nmvote.org to apply for an absentee ballot for any affected elections
  • If you have questions, contact your county clerk

Steps to Vote While Living Abroad

  • Three months prior to an election be sure to check your voter registration at nmvote.org and ensure that it is up to date, including your current mailing address
  • Use nmvote.org to apply for an absentee ballot for the election.
    • NOTE: Your application will be good for every election up to and including the next Presidential election. You do not need to apply for an absentee ballot over and over unless your information changes. After the Presidential election, your absentee application will expire and you will need to apply again.
  • Monitor your voter record at nmvote.org for upcoming elections and for the status of your ballot for each election. Ballots to overseas voters should ship approximately forty-five days before the election.
  • If you have questions, contact your county clerk

Cybersecurity Tips While Travelling or Living Abroad

When traveling internationally, in addition to taking your passport, take responsibility for your cybersecurity. Your information and communications – and the devices that contain and transmit them – are as much a part of you as the valuables in your suitcase. The more you do to protect yourself, the more secure your information and devices likely will be. While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. Laws and policies regarding online security and privacy may be different in other countries than in the United States.

Travel to some countries in particular presents some significant cyber security concerns and the risk cannot be understated. If possible, travel without any devices. If that is not possible, take an inexpensive basic laptop, a “burner device”, and a pre-paid cell phone. Leave all other devices at home. Destroy all devices before returning home. There are many types of exploits that would not be detected upon your return home. These exploits could persist even if the device is wiped. It may cost a few dollars more to throw the device away after each trip, but the cost of a compromised machine connected to the State network or a home network could be much higher.

The US State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings are vital parts of this program.

Protect yourself by leaving at home any electronic equipment you don’t need during your travel. If you will require a device while traveling abroad, protect it in advance.

  • Back up your electronic files
  • Remove sensitive data
  • Install strong passwords
  • Ensure antivirus software is up-to-date

While Traveling, Follow these Tips

  • Turn off your Bluetooth
  • Only use VPN for internet access, not WiFi
  • Turn off location services
  • Never let your devices out of your sight. Keep electronic devices with you at all times; hotel safes are not secure.
  • Do not plug USB-powered devices into public charging stations. Only connect USB-powered devices to the power adapter with which they were intended to be used.
  • Know the local laws regarding online behavior and law enforcement authorities, as some online behaviors are illegal in certain countries.
  • Assume that all online activity is subject to government and/or other monitoring techniques.
  • When using a laptop, copy and paste passwords from a USB thumb drive
  • Never type in a password directly due to elevated risks of keystroke logging software on your laptop
  • Don’t Get Juice Jacked at the Airport, this video provides best practices to protect your personal information at the airport.

Upon Return to the US:

  • Change all passwords and device passcodes
  • If you bring any devices back, restore back to factory settings and run a comprehensive scan on devices before connecting to any networks, home or work.

References:

Upcoming Elections

  • 2019 Regular Local Elections - November 5, 2019
  • 2020 Municipal Officer Elections - March 3, 2020
  • 2020 Primary Election - June 2, 2020
  • 2020 General Election - November 3, 2020

View All Elections

Quick Contact Information


Mailing & Physical Address
New Mexico Capitol Annex North
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Hours of Operation
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday through Friday

Toll Free : 1-800-477-3632

Business Services Division
Phone 505-827-3600 (Option 1)
Fax 505-827-4387
Email Business.Services@state.nm.us

Bureau of Elections
Phone: 505-827-3600 (Option 2)
Email: Sos.elections@state.nm.us

Ethics Division
Phone: 505-827-3600 (Option 2)
Email: Sos.ethics@state.nm.us

Receptionist
Phone 505-827-3600 (Option 3)