Voting and Elections

Rumor vs. Reality

Fact checking misinformation about New Mexico’s voting and elections


Recent years have seen the growth of misinformation about how our voting and elections are run in New Mexico. To address and combat some of the most popular points of this harmful misinformation, we have created the following webpage.

The points addressed below include:

  • Can someone tell who I voted for?
  • Could someone change election results?
  • Are New Mexico’s vote counting machines ever connected to the Internet?
  • How do we protect voter data? Who can access it?
  • Are independent, post-election audits performed in New Mexico to ensure the accuracy of election results?
  • How are voter rolls maintained to ensure election integrity?
  • Can non-citizens vote?
  • Does New Mexico use paper ballots?
Can someone tell who I voted for

RUMOR vs. REALITY: The secrecy of your ballot.

No one, not even election officials, can tell who you voted for in an election. Secret ballots are a cornerstone of democracy and are guaranteed in all 50 states, including New Mexico. Your ballot choices are secret, though your party affiliation and which elections you’ve voted in are not.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: Could someone change election results?

We have a variety of safeguards in New Mexico that ensure the accuracy of election results.

Most notably, we conduct mandatory post-election audits after every election (these double-check that all the counts were correct) and use 100% paper ballots in every election (this ensures there’s always physical ballots that can be recounted/examined if need be).

We also conduct pre-election certification of all voting systems/machines.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: Are New Mexico’s vote counting machines ever connected to the Internet?

No. New Mexico utilizes air-gapped counting systems, which means that our vote tabulators are prevented by law and process from being joined to a computer network or the Internet.

It has become a popular point of disinformation to suggest that New Mexico’s vote tabulators are compromised because they are connected to the Internet. Our air-gapped counting systems ensure that vote tabulators are never connected to the Internet.

Why is this important? Air-gapping is a best practice in election administration that helps prevent hacking of voter data and/or election results. The physical separation of systems ensured by air-gapping makes it much more difficult for any bad actor to try and penetrate those systems.

Because hackers could try and use other means to manipulate votes, we also have further safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of our votes.

Perhaps the most important one that pairs with air-gapping is our use of paper ballots. Every election in New Mexico uses one-hundred percent paper ballots. Using all paper ballots in every election allows for auditing and verification of automated vote counting systems because there is always a paper trail. That means that even if by some means a nefarious actor was able to penetrate one of our systems, we always have a physical backup of paper ballots that can be referred to in order to achieve the accurate result.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: How do we protect voter data? Who can access it?

The protection of voter data is a top priority for New Mexico’s election administrators. Multiple levels of security safeguards are in place by state and county administrators to ensure voter data is not compromised by malicious actors.

Certain groups can obtain limited publicly-available voter data by filling out a required affidavit and paying a set fee. New Mexico state law requires that voter data can only be used for governmental or election and election campaign purposes – meaning either that the data must be used by a campaign for federal, state, or local government OR that it must be used for non-commercial purposes by a government or academic group.

Even when this voter data is obtained, however, county clerks or the Secretary of State’s Office cannot provide data that includes voters’ social security numbers, identifying information about where a voter registered, a voter’s day/month of birth, or a voter’s telephone number if prohibited by that voter.

Through this limited publicly-available voter data, it is possible to tell a voter’s party affiliation (or lack thereof) and if that voter voted in a particular election, but a voter’s specific ballot choices always remain secret (even to election administrators).

For more information about New Mexico’s voter data request procedures, visit our website which includes the fee structure and the downloadable request/affidavit form.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: Are independent, post-election audits performed in New Mexico to ensure the accuracy of election results?

Yes. There are two main ways the accuracy of election results are ensured here in New Mexico with audits:

  1. Following an election, the election results are canvassed or audited so that accuracy is ensured. Canvassing first happens at the county level where county staff review the results. Then, another canvass is completed by a new team of staff at the Secretary of State’s Office. Finally, the results that have already been reviewed at the county and state level are audited by an independent contractor before they are forwarded to the New Mexico Voting Certification Committee to be made official.
  2. New Mexico conducts a risk-limiting audit following every statewide election. This process involves randomly selecting races and precincts throughout the state and hand counting the results in those precincts. The hand counted results are then compared to the normal machine counted results to ensure accuracy. Any discrepancies between the results are thoroughly investigated.

The results of every independent post-election audit that’s been conducted in New Mexico since 2004 are downloadable from our website.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: How are voter rolls maintained to ensure election integrity?

One of the main points of misinformation about voting and elections claims that voter rolls are not regularly cleaned and thus the integrity of our elections is questioned. This is a pernicious bit of misinformation that leads people to question the outcomes of our elections, so let’s clear it up.

The voter list maintenance processes and procedures of the Secretary of State’s Office and New Mexico county clerks not only follow all state and federal guidelines to keep our voter rolls clean and up-to-date, but go above and beyond those requirements.

During the voter list maintenance process New Mexico’s election administrators, as required by law, must maintain and update their voter rolls continually — everything from checking obituaries, receiving monthly reports from NM Vital Statistics about deceased individuals, and suspending or reinstating voters based on conviction notices from the Department of Corrections. This is done in conjunction with the proactive, pro-voter measures already in place in New Mexico, such as automated voter registration, all-mail special elections, and online and same day voter registration. All of these systems combine to ensure that voter information is up-to-date in New Mexico, resulting in our state having some of the “cleanest” voter records in the United States.

New Mexico also participates in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). ERIC uses information from motor vehicle departments, Social Security Administration records, and other databases to compare voters across all member states and securely shares this information with member states. We have an ERIC FAQ page on our website.

Additionally, County clerks send frequent election-related material to registered voters at their registration addresses and then use that information to do voter record list maintenance.

Much of the confusion around how voter lists are maintained stems from how people misinterpret data or simple clerical errors. As detailed in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s “Rumor Control” website when debunking the myth that deceased people are casting ballots: “Taken out of context, some voter registration information may appear to suggest suspicious activity, but are actually innocuous clerical errors or the result of intended data practices. For example, election officials in some states use temporary placeholder data for registrants whose birth date or year is not known (e.g., 1/1/1900, which makes such registrants appear to be 120 years old). In other instances, a voting-age child with the same name and address as their deceased parent could be misinterpreted as a deceased voter or lead to clerical errors.” (https://www.cisa.gov/rumorcontrol#rumor21)

Simply put, New Mexico has some of the cleanest voter rolls in the nation and we go above and beyond legal requirements to maintain voter list integrity.

Learn more about how states accurately maintain their voter lists at this helpful website from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

RUMOR vs. REALITY: Can non-citizens vote?

No. You must be registered in order to vote. Every person who registers to vote in New Mexico must attest that they are a citizen of the U.S. and a resident of New Mexico and must provide voter identification.

For information about voter registration requirements, check out our extensive FAQ page: https://www.sos.state.nm.us/voting-and-elections/voting-faqs/voter-registration/

RUMOR vs. REALITY: Does New Mexico use paper ballots?

Yes. Every election that occurs in New Mexico uses 100% paper ballots. Why is that important? It’s one of the ways we ensure New Mexico has the most secure elections in the nation. It’s a low-tech solution that makes our elections more secure in an age of high-tech threats. Paper ballots allow for auditing and verification of automated vote counting systems and they enable us to recount a single race or an entire election should the need arise.

Upcoming Elections

Primary Election: June 7, 2022

General Election: November 8, 2022

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)