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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Letters to Editor Needed on NM Election Reform

Does anyone want to take a stab at replying to the letter to the editor in yesterday’s ABQ Journal from the Chairman of the NM Republican Party calling the election reforms a joke? We know better. Let's help Albuquerque Journal readers learn the truth on this. Click to the continuation page for Allen Weh's distorted take on this:

Governor's Voter Reform a Joke
New Mexico attracted some national notice in 2000 when 500 votes— all for Al Gore— turned up from Doña Ana County and tipped the state from Red to Blue.

And last year the nation watched as New Mexico wrung its hands about which provisional votes should count, for days and weeks after the polls had closed. News reports that thousands of voters were suspect, and that 13-year-olds got voter ID cards in the mail, didn't do our reputation as an honest and able democracy much good either.

And as if all that were not bad enough, our two-term secretary of state squandered millions of federal dollars, meant to strengthen the election process, on ads that featured her repeating her own name for us— over and over again.

So when the 2005 Legislative Session came around, there was supposedly all this bipartisan agreement that real and meaningful reforms needed to be enacted, not the least of which was supposed to be Voter ID.

But a funny thing happened on the way to adjournment. On day 58 of the 60-day session, an emissary of the governor named Eli Il Yong Lee, who runs a far left political consulting operation called Soltari, emerged with a substitute bill for the consideration of the Legislature.

This election reform bill was such a railroad job, the House Voters and Elections Committee chairman himself had to get permission to bring an "expert witness" onto the floor to help him with it. That expert? None other than campaign consultant Lee. Talk about putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.

You can forget about meaningful Voter ID at the polls with this new law. The specification for bona-fide government-issued ID is gone. Also stuffed into this bogus bill is a provision that allows for a suspension of Voter ID requirements altogether if it is decided that asking for ID is holding things up.

But there's more tucked into this 80-page plus gem that just about nobody got a chance to read before having to vote on it, and which was evidently written from the governor's office by political operatives. Anyone who failed to show ID at the polls and had to therefore cast a provisional ballot, can now show up days after the election and produce ID before the election canvass.

Clearly, New Mexico needs good election reform. And just as clearly, we took one step forward last month and two steps back with the worst kind of smoke-filled-room lawmaking.

And where were the advocates of open government and honest elections when we needed them? Unfortunately, most the veteran New Mexico journalists who could have focused the light of truth and held Santa Fe to a higher standard are now on the Richardson payroll.

ALLEN WEH, chairman
Republican Party Of New Mexico

April 28, 2005 at 10:27 AM in Local Politics | Permalink


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