Thursday, March 17, 2011
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver urges caution when considering Secretary of State Dianna Duran's recent allegations of non-citizens being registered to vote and voting in elections. “It's too soon to draw any conclusions about whether or not the practice of voting by non-citizens is actually occurring,” says Clerk Toulouse Oliver.
"Several individuals and organizations, including my office, have asked the Secretary of State for more information about the data her office is using to make determinations of voter fraud and for specific information about who in particular the Secretary believes to be voting illegally," said Clerk Toulouse Oliver.
The Bernalillo County Clerk's office yesterday made a public information request of the Secretary of State's office for the information in question. Deputy County Clerk Robert Adams made the request of the Secretary of State's Office for the purpose of potentially enabling Bernalillo County to conduct its own investigation. Deputy Clerk Adams also had additional questions pertaining to the maintenance of the statewide voter file in anticipation of the meeting of the Bernalillo County Board of Registration this coming Monday, March 21.
The Secretary of State's office has not yet responded to the request, but has 3 days under state law in which to do so.
"Some questions I have been asked and hope to be able to answer are, what criteria is the Secretary using to guarantee a match between the MVD's data and the state voter file? Beyond a list from MVD, how is the Secretary evaluating the current immigration status of the voters in question? Will the county clerks be given this information so we can assist with the investigation and potential prosecution of individuals who are found to be guilty of registering and/or voting as non-citizens?"
The County Clerk pointed out that during her term in office there have been occasional accusations, but no verified cases of non-citizens voting. "When such allegations have been brought to my attention, they have been investigated and found to be ultimately unsubstantiated." Specifically, the Clerk recalled the allegations made in 2008 when legitimate voters were accused of being non-citizens.
However, Clerk Toulouse Oliver cautions, "It is important to thoroughly investigate each and every accusation of voter registration and or voting fraud. Though I have not seen any substantiated cases of voting fraud, my office has uncovered numerous cases of potential voter registration fraud, which we referred to law enforcement for investigation and, in at least one case, ultimately prosecution."
"The most important thing I want to communicate to the voters is this - elections in New Mexico are well-run and have few, if any, irregularities associated with them. The Secretary of State is concerned about election integrity and this is a good thing. However, prematurely revealing information that has not been fully investigated or vetted by the public is concerning. It has taken years to restore the voters' confidence in our state's election system and it can take but a moment to ruin that confidence. I want to reassure voters that your county clerks are doing everything in their power to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, and will do everything we can to get to the bottom of the questions that have been raised" says Clerk Toulouse Oliver.
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