Target: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
Goal: End voter suppression tactics in New Mexico
Following the trend of voter suppression in numerous other states, New Mexico Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, is leading a campaign to disenfranchise and confuse registered voters. Duran has already targeted thousands with a misleading “registration confirmation” postcard, and she promises to follow up with a voter purge over the next two years. Duran must stop standing in the way of voting rights.
Recently, Duran’s office sent postcards to all registered voters in the state who had changed their address since the previous election, a mailing campaign that reached 177,000 people, or 14% of the state’s registered population. Any voter whose card is not returned, or who has not voted in the previous three elections, will have their registration revoked before the election of 2014. With 60,000 cards currently unaccounted for, there exists the potential for a massive and unnecessary voter purge.
Though not officially taking effect for another two years, this campaign has already begun to negatively influence the turnout of the upcoming election. These postcards, sent with little chance for proper response time, have led many to the mistaken belief that they are already ineligible.
In focusing on those whose addresses have changed, Duran’s efforts also target those who were affected by the recent foreclosure crisis. This malicious purge campaign preys on those who are already the most economically unstable and threatens to punish them with a reduction of their rights.
Duran already supports an unnecessary voter ID law, and borrows her tactics from the same voter suppression tool-kits that have influenced policy makers and legislators in numerous other states. In order to ensure the rights of all voters, we must tell Duran to put an end to her campaign of disinformation and unfair targeting.
Dear Secretary Duran,
As New Mexico Secretary of State, it is your responsibility to represent the full population of your state and to ensure that the bureau of elections is overseen in a just manner. However, your recent postcard campaign to contact eligible voters has, through poor timing and deceptive language, only managed to complicate the voting process and potentially marginalize a large segment of New Mexico’s citizens. In order to continue to respectfully serve your constituents, you must cease this campaign and turn back your efforts to confront the over estimated threat of voter fraud.
Regardless of New Mexico’s previously unsuccessful attempts to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, the manner in which you have chosen to conduct your efforts far outstrips any urgency by infringing on the rights and mental well-being of your citizens. The nature of your tactics has already led to numerous registered voters mistakenly believing that they need to register again before election day.
In addition, the nature of your campaign has led to an unfair targeting of those already adversely effected by the foreclosure crisis of 2010. Those who have lost their homes and livelihoods are now being confronted with a postcard whose language and close proximity to election day has left many feeling an additional and unnecessary trauma.
The threat of voter fraud is one that even you have admitted is not substantial. As found in your recent study, less than 20 non-citizens had cast ballots in the previous election, many of whom were later found to have attained citizenship before their vote was cast. To target such a large population in response to such a small scale problem is both unnecessary and irresponsible.
In order to best represent every one of New Mexico’s currently registered voters, your office must cease its call for the return of these postcards and suspend any previously attributed penalties. A better, more just system of registration confirmation must be implemented, and an end must be put to this needless campaign.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: StickWare via Flickr