SANTA FE — A Democrat-controlled committee this afternoon blocked three separate bills to require photo identification to vote.

Each bill was stopped on a 3-2 party-line vote. Republican Reps. Dianne Hamilton of Silver City, Cathrynn Brown of Carlsbad and James Smith of Sandia Park sponsored the unsuccessful bills.

Hamilton, 78, said she would run for re-election to an eighth term this year in hopes of bringing forth another photo ID bill in 2013.

“I do believe with all my heart there’s a great deal of voter fraud,” Hamilton said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t.”

But a committee member, Rep. Antionio “Moe” Maestas, said claims of widespread voter fraud are not supported by evidence.

“The bogeyman does not exist. Widespread voter fraud in New Mexico simply doesn’t exist,” said Maestas, D-Albuquerque.

Daniel Ivey-Soto, the spokesman for the organization representing New Mexico’s 33 county clerks, helped Smith present his bill. It would have started with photo identification but then used other records for voter verification. Even so, Ivey-Soto said he agreed with Maestas.

“I am comfortable in saying there is no systemic voter fraud in New Mexico,” Ivey-Soto said.

Milan Simonich: