ProgressNow New Mexico says a proposed voter purge by Secretary of State Dianna Duran is on pause after outcry over the legality of such a move.
“This latest indication that Secretary Duran will – instead of bringing court actions – comply with the NVRA requirements is great news for New Mexico voters,” ProgressNow New Mexico executive director Pat Davis said in a statement. “Our voter rolls certainly need to be updated and there are already rules in place to govern that process. New Mexicans simply want to make sure that no eligible voter is being denied their constitutional right and that all the rules are being followed by all of our elected officials.”
The progressive advocacy group, which has been a thorn in the side of Republicans, says that Duran’s office “cobbled together” two Attorney General opinions for justification on instituting the purge of voters.
“Essentially, Secretary Duran is trying to circumvent New Mexico’s county clerks and her federal obligation not to remove voters from the rolls before a certain date,” the initial ProgressNow NM report said. “By having the boards of registrars provide the SOS with a list of potentially ineligible voters she can then begin to purge voters from the rolls before the federally mandated 2015 start date.”
The Ruidoso News explained the rationale:
Duran’s letter states that in the opinion of the Attorney General and Duran, counties can convene their boards of registration and review the entire voter list. Based on that review, they may identify individuals who may warrant further research as to their status, Burrows explained.
“We may know some people are deceased, but the problem is confirming that officially.” she said.
Additional research may prompt the initiation of the purge process for which other means of removal might be found, she said. “We could forward the names to the secretary of state and they can try to get the necessary documents to remove the names from agencies such as vital statistics,” Burrows said. “They were just suggesting to us as people who have knowledge of our counties to provide a list for further research to determine if (individuals) might be removed by means provided in statutes.”
Duran herself told legislators back in July of 2011 that voter rolls could not be purged until this year because of the lack of actions from former Secretary of State Mary Herrera. I reported for Clearly New Mexico at the time, “Duran said that that former Secretary of State Mary Herrera did not do National Change of Address Mailings and so the voter rolls cannot be purged until 2013.”
However, the Albuquerque Journal reported last year, during the controversial postcards to voters, that Duran could not do a purge until 2015 because of Herrera failing to follow the process.
But the address-confirmation mailing that must precede purging the rolls, which is done every two years, was not done by Duran’s predecessor, Democrat Mary Herrera, in 2007 and it was flawed in 2009.
That means Duran can’t purge the rolls until 2015. And she can’t remove voters’ names unless they fail to return postcards providing updated addresses and also fail to vote in the 2012 and 2014 general elections.