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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Secretary of State is Engaged in Campaign to Undermine Public Confidence in NM Elections

Following is a press release by Common Cause New Mexico, questioning the Secretary of States motives within her latest voter file interim report.

Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) warns that Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s manner of conducting a review of New Mexico’s voter file seems to reflect a disturbing partisan bias. The organization’s comments follow Duran’s public release of a 17-page interim report about the process.

While CCNM lauds her efforts to clean up New Mexico’s voter file and agrees that this is a legitimate function of the Secretary of State’s office, CCNM believes that she is deliberately undermining public trust in New Mexico elections purely to promote policies, such as voter photo ID, which are designed to prevent qualified New Mexicans from casting a ballot.

“The way she’s gone about this secretive process is completely bizarre,” says Steven Robert Allen, executive director of CCNM. “The report is yet another example in which Secretary Duran consistently paints New Mexico elections as a hotbed of problems, while refusing to provide documentation to back up her assertions. This doesn’t make any sense unless she’s trying to deliberately stir up fear among both decision-makers and the general public to advance her own political agenda.”

Allen points out that the Secretary of State first launched her media campaign in March of this year while advocating for a burdensome new voter ID law. Voting rights advocates believe that such a law would have the effect of disenfranchising thousands of legitimate New Mexico voters, in particular among senior, student, Native American, Hispanic and low-income populations. Since March, Duran has repeatedly kept the public and voters in the dark about the methodology she’s using to conduct the review.

“This seems to be part of a national effort to suppress voter turnout,” Allen says, “which has been popping up most often in swing states like New Mexico. The goal is to pass laws specifically designed to disenfranchise qualified voters in the run-up to a major election year.”

Allen notes that the Colorado Secretary of State launched a similar media campaign within days of Secretary Duran.

In the recent ‘interim’ report, Duran fills numerous pages insisting that she has been engaged in a valid, objective, non-partisan process. CCNM believes that if this were so, she would have launched her media campaign after her office attempted to resolve discrepancies in the voter file by working directly with county election officials. The fact that she has to this date failed to take this obvious step – instead choosing to actually attack the integrity of some of these same county election officials – makes her actions and motivations highly suspect, at best.

New Mexico has had numerous problems with its Secretaries of State in recent years. CCNM believes New Mexico desperately deserves a chief election official who is willing and able to conduct herself in a manner that protects the rights of all qualified New Mexicans to cast a ballot.

CCNM urges Secretary Duran to abandon her partisan media campaign and get down to the serious business of preparing the state for the important election year ahead.

November 22, 2011 at 09:46 AM in Dianna Duran, Election Reform & Voting, NM Secretary of State | Permalink


Wow. Now Duran is attacking the county clerks who she said repeatedly she wanted to work with. And is anyone surprised she is aming her attacks directly at Bernalillo Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver? This just keeps getting worse and worse.

Posted by: localdem | Nov 22, 2011 10:47:22 AM

The only agenda of the radical Right is simply to denigrate the already functional voter system for the purpose of voter suppression. This is a notorious Right-Wing national agenda mandated to all Republican SoS’s. I wish the the crazy Right-wingers would stop hiding behind some cravenly false higher motivation to justify their historically nefarious effort of voter suppression and disenfranchisement of minorities and the poor.

Posted by: qofdisks | Nov 22, 2011 6:08:50 PM