Maggie Toulouse Oliver for NM Secretary of State
New Mexico Secretary of State in NM http://www.maggietoulouseoliver.com
600 Central Ave SW #107
Primary Election Date: 2014-06-03 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and am honored to now serve my home community as its County Clerk. I have served as Bernalillo County Clerk since 2007 and have made improving the integrity of the election process and delivering top customer service the highest priorities.
I believe that the bedrock of our democracy is fair and transparent elections, and so, I set out from day one to ensure that my office was responsive to the needs of my constituents and to restore accountability to a process that was previously plagued by allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Ensuring that every citizen can get registered, that every voter can cast a ballot, and that every ballot is counted correctly are foremost in my mind every day.
Under my leadership, Bernalillo County has consistently raised the bar for making voting easier and more accessible while becoming a national leader in modernizing our electoral process.
Whether it be by expanding early voting, bringing electronic pollbook technology into the polling place, or creating one of the largest and most successful Election Day Vote Center operations in the U.S. to date, Bernalillo County is serving as a model for other jurisdictions across the country. In fact, in 2014, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration cited Bernalillo County’s vote center work and its “My Voter Information” voter toolkit and “My Vote Center” mobile app as best practices.
I have been honored to receive a number of honors and acknowledgements while in office. I am a 2009 recipient of a New Mexico Technology Excellence award. In 2011, I received the Distinguished Service Award from United Voters NM and Verified Voting NM for my work in promoting election integrity. In 2012, I was named one of NM Business Weekly’s “40 under 40” young professionals. In the summer of 2013, I was the only New Mexico representative to testify before the Presidential Commission on Election Administration in Denver where I discussed Bernalillo County's groundbreaking efforts regarding the successful implementation of vote centers in 2012.
Prior to serving the people of Bernaillo County, I spent over a decade as an organizer, working to support a variety of issues, candidates, and national and local organizations. During that time, I worked to register, educate and mobilize tens of thousands of voters in my home community. I was raised in Albuquerque and attended Albuquerque Public Schools. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and Spanish from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a Master of Arts in political science, also from UNM. During my time at UNM, I received numerous academic awards and have served as an adjunct lecturer in the political science department there. Today I live in Albuquerque with my husband, Allan, and my two sons.
Why am I running?
I am a passionate believer in and supporter of American democracy and in the promise that it holds. I would love nothing better than to see full participation across a wide spectrum of the electorate, in a system that truly gives equal weight to each individual voice that registers a vote in our electoral process.
As a result, increasing democratic participation is a core value that I hold. In fact, I believe it is the main role of the Secretary of State to foster that participation through opportunities to register to vote, learn about voting options and opportunities, and cast a ballot in an unfettered and simple manner. Unfortunately, New Mexico’s current Secretary of State has taken many actions that have sought to restrict access to the ballot box and made it more difficult for people to vote. Furthermore, the office has become very partisan under the current Secretary and elections are too important for political games. I decided to run to restore integrity, transparency and nonpartisanship to the office and to make voting easier and more accessible for all New Mexican citizens.
Protecting voting rights, expanding access to the ballot box and modernizing our election process are my three top priorities for the Secretary of State’s Office. They are also my current priorities as county clerk of New Mexico’s largest county.
First and foremost, I will oppose any law to restrict or roll back voting rights in New Mexico. This is consistent with my work in my current position, as I have strongly advocated against such legislative proposals as photo voter ID, rollbacks of third party voter registration activity, mandatory checks for citizenship against the voter registration database and other such restrictive proposals.
Second, I have worked tirelessly to expand access to the ballot box in my home county. I have personally expanded the number of early voting sites, successfully lobbied to expand early voting hours for my county, automated the absentee ballot application process, and then lobbied for and implemented the largest and most successful Election Day vote center system in the nation. Voters in Bernalillo County have more access to voting opportunities since I came into office than they ever have before. I’d like to continue this work in the Secretary of State’s office to expand access to all New Mexicans, especially in rural and tribal areas where opportunities to cast a ballot are often few and far-between.
Third, modernizing our election process not only improves access and ease of casting a ballot, but it also improves the ability of election administrators to conduct efficient elections using a process that improves the integrity of those elections. This can help increase voter confidence in the election process as well as ensuring a better voting experience. Examples of election modernization that I have implemented include electronic pollbooks and ballot printing on-demand; a host of online voter information tools such as customized voter information, sample ballots, interactive maps of polling locations with wait times at each polling location, and electronic applications for an absentee ballot and absentee ballot tracker; mobile apps for early and Election Day polling locations, enabling voters to find the closest site to them, find hours of operation and find wait-times in advance.
I would like to see many of these advances take root in counties around the state of New Mexico and, as Secretary of State, will work to see that become a reality.
My DFA Values
I believe that voting is not just the single most important right that we hold as Americans, but the single greatest way to ensure fairness, equality and justice. Ensuring each and every eligible New Mexican fair access to the polls, a safe and transparent way to vote and constantly improving upon the security of our vote as Secretary of State will provide the entire New Mexican community with the trust in our election process that is required to build strong communities.
It is of paramount importance that every single eligible voter should have the opportunity to register to vote, every registered voter should have an easy and accessible way to cast their vote and every vote must be counted accurately.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I'm proud of my previous campaigns, which were fueled by local, grassroots volunteers who dedicated themselves to reaching out into the community to build support and engage new voters and we are taking that philosophy in this statewide campaign for Secretary of State. We already have a growing network of volunteers across the state who have worked in their communities collecting petitions signatures to help us qualify for the ballot. As well, over 90% of the nearly 1300 financial contributions in this campaign thus far have come from individuals and we are expanding our grassroots fundraising base each and every day.