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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bernalillo County Clerk Addresses Secretary of State's Allegations of Non-Citizen Voting Irregularities

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is urging caution when considering Secretary of State Dianna Duran's recent allegations of non-citizens being registered to vote and voting in elections. “It's too soon to draw any conclusions about whether or not the practice of voting by non-citizens is actually occurring,” Clerk Toulouse Oliver said in a statement released this afternoon.

"Several individuals and organizations, including my office, have asked the Secretary of State for more information about the data her office is using to make determinations of voter fraud, and for specific information about who in particular the Secretary believes to be voting illegally," Clerk Toulouse Oliver continued.

The Bernalillo County Clerk's office yesterday made a public information request of the Secretary of State's office for the information in question. Deputy County Clerk Robert Adams made the request of the Secretary of State's Office for the purpose of potentially enabling Bernalillo County to conduct its own investigation. Deputy Clerk Adams also had additional questions pertaining to the maintenance of the statewide voter file in anticipation of the meeting of the Bernalillo County Board of Registration this coming Monday, March 21.

According to the Bernalillo County Clerk, the Secretary of State's office has not yet responded to the request, but has 3 days under state law in which to do so.

Toulouse Oliver said, "Some questions I have been asked and hope to be able to answer are, what criteria is the Secretary using to guarantee a match between the MVD's data and the state voter file? Beyond a list from MVD, how is the Secretary evaluating the current immigration status of the voters in question? Will the county clerks be given this information so we can assist with the investigation and potential prosecution of individuals who are found to be guilty of registering and/or voting as non-citizens?" 

The County Clerk pointed out that during her term in office there have been occasional accusations, but no verified cases of non-citizens voting. "When such allegations have been brought to my attention, they have been investigated and found to be ultimately unsubstantiated," she said. Specifically, the Clerk recalled the allegations made in 2008 when legitimate voters were accused of being non-citizens.

However, Clerk Toulouse Oliver cautioned, "It is important to thoroughly investigate each and every accusation of voter registration and or voting fraud. Though I have not seen any substantiated cases of voting fraud, my office has uncovered numerous cases of potential voter registration fraud, which we referred to law enforcement for investigation and that ultimately resulted, in at least one case, in prosecution."

"The most important thing I want to communicate to the voters is this -- elections in New Mexico are well-run and have few, if any, irregularities associated with them," Toulouse Oliver stated. "The Secretary of State is concerned about election integrity, and this is a good thing. However, prematurely revealing information that has not been fully investigated or vetted by the public is concerning."  

"It has taken years to restore the voters' confidence in our state's election system and it can take but a moment to ruin that confidence," Toulouse Oliver said. "I want to reassure voters that your county clerks are doing everything in their power to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, and will do everything we can to get to the bottom of the questions that have been raised," Clerk Toulouse Oliver concluded.

Note: See our previous post on this issue.

March 17, 2011 at 06:21 PM in Dianna Duran, Election Reform & Voting, Government, Hispanic Issues, Immigration | Permalink

Comments

Good for the County Clerk to begin asking these important questions. I hope other County Clerks follow her example. Playing politics with something as sacred as elections and voting rights is wrong. Our County clerks work hard to insure that elections are run smoothly, and fairly. SOS Duran is recklessly casting doubt on our entire election process. When the system comes under attack it necessarily implies that the County Clerks have been derelict in their duties to the people. If they are going to be thrown under the bus they should have an opportunity to defend themselves by conducting their own investigations to review and possibly challenge the investigatory methods of the SOS.

Posted by: Observer | Mar 17, 2011 7:37:18 PM

I agree with the comment above. Duran is making wild accusations without documentation and insulting all the clerks in the process. She knows better having been a clerk herself but she is willing to do Susana Martinez's dirty work. She should be carefully watched and challenged on everything she says. She is a right wing kook.

Posted by: Keep Eye on Duran | Mar 18, 2011 9:32:24 AM

Does she have any evidence? Hasn't our AG already investigated this and found no evidence?
What safeguards are already in place to prevent voter fraud? Even if a few people slip past, I cannot see how that would represent a constituency of any consequence. So, the state is going to spend a bunch of money taking a sledge hammer to a gnat?
This is just one more divisive political tactic to distract the public from substantive issues.
I wish Susanna would occupy herself with governance and less with politicking.

Posted by: qofdisks | Mar 18, 2011 12:14:47 PM

More red meat for the tea party crazies. Four years of this kind of thing will drive NM into the gutter.

Posted by: farmingtonyo | Mar 18, 2011 12:51:46 PM

Proof. Show us the proof.

Posted by: AllThingsConsidered | Mar 19, 2011 1:35:49 PM

This is so much BS - we are talking about 37 folks that may, and I do emphasize may, have registered to vote illegally. That's all the evidence they have of funny business in elections - a possible 37 voters which ultimately will probably get reduced to 1 or 2 or 0.

This is what you get when you elect a wacho to the Secretary of State's Office.

Posted by: mwfolsom | Mar 20, 2011 3:24:37 PM

Odder still are cases of foreign students and workers at state universities who've been registered without their knowledge using random SSN but real addresses. I know of 2 of these people in ABQ and have heard similar stories elsewhere. Oddly enough, my friends were registered (R), which is not how they would vote. They destroyed their cards. How many others didn't?

Posted by: Caracal | Mar 20, 2011 3:43:02 PM

The only "voter fraud" found that I know of was down in Dona Ana County with a Republican clerk. That was buried quickly.

This is a direct result of silly Democrats voting for this witch because they couldn't vote for Mary Herrera. Mary Herrera was audited and everything performed perfectly on her elections but too many "progressives" drank the right wing koolaid. If you want to find someone that shouldn't be in office try Valerie Espinoza in Santa Fe. She is a catty liar.

Posted by: Facts, Maam | Mar 20, 2011 4:17:42 PM