Common Cause's New Mexico Voting Rights Director Targeted By GOP Voter Purge
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Albuquerque - Diane Wood has voted in every New Mexico election since 1971, but this week New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran began the process to terminate her right to vote.
Just 9 days ago, Duran announced that an analysis by her office had identified 177,768 “non-residents and non-voters” (a full 14% of the state’s registered voters) whose voting rights would be terminated after a mailing to those legally registered voters was completed.
Among the first to receive a mailer was none other than Santa Fe resident Diane Wood, the Voting Rights Director for Common Cause New Mexico, a non-profit organization working to ensure fair and accurate elections in the state.
A life-long New Mexican, Wood received a notice in the mail at her Santa Fe home on Tuesday which identified her as one of those non-resident, non-voters. The notice directs Wood to verify her voting status on the “Voter View” section of the Secretary of State’s website. ( view Diane's voter history, from the SOS's own database here).
However, when Wood checked her voting status there, she found that her status had been changed to “INACTIVE” in this mail purge alongside a list all of the elections she has voted in since 1992, a total of 44. Wood’s most recent vote was just 88 days before she received the notice sent to alleged non-voters.
Wood moved to her current address more than 5 years ago and has voted absentee from there at least 4 times during elections when she was working in other parts of the state protecting others’ right to vote.
"I'm just shocked that I took my job to fight for other people's right to get their vote counted, and now I'm having to fight for my own," Wood told ProgressNow New Mexico in a recorded interview.
The voter purge began just weeks after Secretary Duran stopped printing new voter registration cards, leaving at least six New Mexico counties without registration forms. Just weeks later, we learn that during that same time Duran was not printing new voter cards she was instead able to print more than 177,000 voter registration cards to target to those she deemed non-voters.
New Mexico has an estimated 250,000 – 600,000 eligible but unregistered voters.
Wood's example shows that Duran's data dive into our voter file identifed exactly the wrong voters than she was intended, and her own data shows it - yet, apparently without conducting quality control checks they moving to terminate the rights of 1-in-7 voters.
"If you receive one of these postcards in the mail," Duran said in her news release announcing the purge, "Please fill it out, update your address, and return it promptly. Your address and voting precinct will be corrected and you will remain eligible to vote."
Wood countered that all of her information is correct and has been in every election in which she has voted since the 1970s.
Listen to Wood in her own words on this video.
ProgressNow New Mexico is calling on the secretary of state to immediately halt her mailing of these notices and purge of voters until she can explain how our state's most dedicated voters were among those targeted as non-residents and non-voters.
We are also urging other lawful voters who have received these notices to contact (505) 750-0018.
About Common Cause New Mexico
Our successful Count Every Vote NM program had seven counties targeted for the 2012 primary, with fifteen targeted for the general election in November, and we are training poll watchers across the state to ensure every vote does count;