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New Mexico

Voting Rights Advocates Challenge New Mexico’s Voter Registration Law in State Court PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Brennan Center for Justice   
July 24, 2008
New Mexico Law Is One of Harshest in the Nation - Severe Penalties Threaten to Shut Down Voter Registration Drives and Disproportionately Block Minorities from Voting in 2008

A copy of the complaint can be downloaded here.

Today the Brennan Center for Justice, along with pro bono law firms Davis Polk & Wardwell and Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg & Ives, filed a lawsuit in state court in Albuquerque challenging a New Mexico law that significantly restricts the ability of voter registration groups to register new voters and threatens to block thousands of eligible New Mexico citizens from registering and voting in the 2008 elections as unconstitutional and inconsistent with federal and state law. Plaintiffs in the case are the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas Inc. (FAWCO), New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG), and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP). Plaintiffs typically register thousands of New Mexico citizens (especially low income, minority, disabled, and young citizens) to vote but have suspended or dramatically curtailed their operations as a result of the challenged law.

There are currently over half a million unregistered eligible voters in New Mexico. The suit claims that New Mexico's law—New Mexico Statutes Annotated § 1-4-49, and New Mexico Administrative Rules §§—both enacted in 2005-constitutes an unconstitutional burden on free speech and association by impeding civic groups from helping eligible voters to register.

"The law aggressively discourages civic organizations from helping New Mexico citizens to exercise their basic right to vote, and threatens voter registration drives across the state," Robby Rodriguez from SWOP stated.
New Mexico: Voter Group Urges Investigation of Missing Ballots PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Verified Voting New Mexico and United Voters of New Mexico   
July 21, 2008
A coalition of election reform organizations has called for a thorough investigation of the Cibola County incident in which two ballot boxes and 182 paper ballots went mysteriously missing at two precincts following the June 3 primary. Verified Voting New Mexico and United Voters of New Mexico insist that the in-depth probe is necessary in order to strengthen voter confidence in the fairness of election outcomes, especially in the run-up to the critical general election in November.

Clemente Sanchez, candidate in the state Senate race, lost by five votes to incumbent David Ulibarri, who is Cibola County Manager. Sanchez has protested the lack of investigation into the election circumstances, and also the subsequent recount and July 11 certification of results by the State Canvassing Board. The state Attorney General has said the incident is “under review” but has not said that an investigation is underway.

Fair Elections Legal Network Asks County Clerks In New Mexico To Project 2008 Turnout PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Fair Elections Legal Network   
May 30, 2008
Given the recent surge in voter turnout and voter registration throughout the 2008 party primaries and caucuses, Fair Elections Legal Network FELN has written letters on behalf of the Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico Common Cause, and My Rural Assistance to the county clerks of several counties in New Mexico asking that the clerks immediately make projections of what they expect voter turnout will be in their respective counties for the 2008 General Election.

Using these projections, counties would be able to allocate an appropriate number of voting machines and ballots, and train an appropriate number of poll workers for each district. Ultimately the purpose of these projections will be to ensure that sufficient numbers of machines, ballots, and poll workers are allocated equally among polling places and thus facilitate a smooth, well-run election without unreasonable delays for the voters. FELN has also offered to assist the county clerks implement appropriate plans in light of turnout projections.

Letter to New Mexico Secretary of State

Letter to Cibola County Clerk

Letter to Dońa Ana County Clerk

Letter to Santa Fe County Clerk

New Mexico: Independent Researchers Find High Voter Confidence in New Paper Ballot System PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson   
August 23, 2007

Governor Richardson Calls Transition to Paper Ballot a Success


Download the Full Report 


Independent researchers from the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, the University of New Mexico and the University of Utah issued a report today on the administration of the 2006 General Election and the state’s transition to a paper ballot voting system. Over eight in 10 voters rated their voting experience excellent or good and the report concluded that “New Mexico is on the cutting edge of election administration and has executive and local leadership forging aggressively ahead with the intent of building a better, strong, efficacious and more voter confident voting system.”

“This independent report confirms that our state’s transition to a paper ballot system has been successful,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Voters and poll workers favored the new voting process and gave it high marks for reliability, privacy and ease of use. Our experience clearly demonstrates that states can transition to paper ballot in less than a year and conduct accurate and transparent elections.

According to researchers, New Mexico is the first state to move from a predominantly electronic voting system to a single durable paper ballot system statewide, using optical scanners. Governor Richardson, working closely with New Mexico election reform groups and key state legislators passed legislation in 2005 requiring all state elections to be conducted with a voter verifiable paper trail, but could allow for continued use of Direct Recording Electronic voting systems (DREs). Recognizing state and national concerns over continued use of DREs, during the 2006 legislative session Governor Richardson pushed for a single state-wide voting system using durable paper ballots, which represent the official record of the vote. The paper ballot system allows for recounts of New Mexico elections, which the DRE systems did not, and it also allows elections to be audited for accuracy and provide an environment that promotes greater voter confidence, which the previous electronic systems could not accommodate.

Undervote Rate Plummets in Minority Precincts After New Mexico Changes to All Paper Ballots PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
February 26, 2007

Download the Report Here

Download the Data Here 


A new report, based on official 2004 and 2006 New Mexico election data, shows a dramatic difference in undervotes in Native American and Hispanic precincts, depending on whether they voted on paper ballots or on Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machines.

The report explains: "Undervotes represent ballots on which no vote was registered for a specific contest.  Undervote rates higher than 0.5% in the major contest on a ballot, especially in presidential elections, suggest that votes may not have been counted, either through a mistake of the voter or a mistake in tabulation."

The report shows that in predominantly Native American and predominantly Hispanic precincts, undervote rates were abnormally high (7.61% and 6.33% respectively) in the 2004 presidential race, when the votes were cast on DREs. In 2006, after the state changed to all optically scanned paper ballots, the undervote rates for Governor in those same precincts plummeted by 85% in Native American areas and by 69% in predominantly Hispanic precincts.

New Mexico: Madrid Concedes - Will Not Request A Recount PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 21, 2006

Party Requests a 2% Manual Audit


At a press conference this morning, Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid has announced her decision not to request a full hand recount of the race for New Mexico’s 1st District Congressional District. After all provisional ballots had been counted incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson’s lead over Madrid had dwindled to 875 votes, a margin of less than ½% of the total ballots cast.


After Madrid conceded, John Wertheim, the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, announced that the Democratic Party will be asking for a 2% audit/recount. The reason for the ambiguous audit/recount statement is that the new law which does not take effect has provisions for an audit where the current law only has provisions for a recount.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Farrauto had confirmed Monday that the party had inquired about the cost of a recount. Madrid's concession brings to a close one of the closest remaining undetermined Congressional contests. At her press conference Madrid cited cost and a family illnes as factors in her decision not to request a recount.

New Mexico: Provisional Ballots To Determine Congressional Race PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 14, 2006

With almost 4,000 ballots still to count, the closely-contested race for New Mecxico's 1st Congressional District is still undecided. Incumbent Republican Heather Wilson held a 1,487 vote lead over challenger and out-going state Attorney General Patricia Madrid in initial results. Election workers painstakingly analyzed 2,698 provisional and 1,058 in-lieu of ballots Monday in the tightly contested U.S. House race between Democrat Patricia Madrid and Republican incumbent Heather Wilson. The "in lieu of" ballots are those cast by people who requested absentee ballots before the elections but said they never received them.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the determination of how many ballots would be disqualified would not be known until tomorrow. Wilson, who would be entering her fifth term, declared victory two days after last week's election, based on calculations showing Madrid would need to win 68 percent of remaining provisional ballots to gain the lead. For each disqualified ballot, the required percentage climbs higher.

 Elections officials laid down the rules Sunday to representatives of both political parties on how they will determine whether to count provisional ballots cast in Bernalillo County on Election Day.

New Mexico: Wilson Calls for Federal Election Monitors After Ballots Run Out PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Reed Upton,   
November 07, 2006

Incumbent Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson is calling for federal monitors from a US House committee to keep tabs on voting in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. Wilson made that announcement after a heavily Republican Northeast Heights precinct with roughly 2,500 registered voters ran out of ballots within two hours of the polls opening.

Precinct 603 was supposed to receive 1,500 ballots but only had 150 on hand when voting began at 7:00 am.  When ballots ran out at about 9:00 am, voters were asked to leave their names and numbers and told they would be called when new ballots arrived.


County Clerk Mary Herrera, a Democrat, blamed the Secretary of State’s office for the shortage of ballots saying they adjusted the number based upon early voting and absentee ballot numbers.

The Secretary of State’s office fired back blaming the county clerk for not providing enough inventory.


Read the Entire Article at 

New Mexico: Phone Calls Directing Voters to the Wrong Polling Place Continue PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 06, 2006

To Find Your Polling Location In New Mexico Contact Your County Clerk. Click Here For Contact Information


Voters should beware of any phone call advising them of their polling location. KRQE is reporting that New Mexico Democrats went before a second judge today seeking an order to stop the GOP from calling non-Republicans with erroneous polling-place information. VoteTrustUSA has recieved several messages like the following email:

I received a call from the New Mexico Victory Committee for New Mexico Congresswoman Heather Wilson. The volunteer told me that she was calling to make sure that I knew where to go to vote. She verified my name and address, then gave me a polling spot that was completely different from the one that I had gotten from the Bernalillo County Clerk's office earlier that afternoon, via their website.

Election Integrity Groups Call For Audit Of Electronic Vote Counts In November's Election PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By United Voters of New Mexico and Verified Voting New Mexico   
October 04, 2006

Reform activists are calling on the top state election official to undertake hand-counted audits of paper ballots as a check on electronic vote counting accuracy in the November general election. Paul Stokes of United Voters of New Mexico (UVNM) and John W. Boyd, an election law specialist with an Albuquerque firm, have urged Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron to advance the implementation of the mandatory voting machine audit that was approved by the state legislature but not scheduled to go into effect until January lst.

In a letter to Secretary Vigil-Giron, Boyd and Stokes wrote, “We believe that random audits of ‘paper trails’ and/or paper ballots are a key element of any election. Without a random audit, any election results will be of doubtful accuracy and integrity…In the public interest, we ask that you do the right thing and take the trouble to conduct a proper, random audit of the results of this November’s election. You will be a hero to thousands of New Mexicans.”

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