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NM “Vote” for an Investigation

October 23, 2008

Albuquerque, NM – It's a "vote" for voter privacy. The ACLU of New Mexico is asking the state Attorney General to investigate whether confidential voter registration forms were illegally accessed.

A packet, distributed by the Republican Party to members of the news media last week, contained photocopies of voter registration forms. These forms included names and contact information, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth.

ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson, says it is illegal for county clerks to release such information to anyone other than the person who registered, and that voter privacy must be protected.

"Find out what's going on, how is the GOP obtaining this information? Have they violated a state law that would incur fourth degree felonies?"

Simonson says voters need guarantees that confidential registration information is not going to be made public, partly because of the risk of identity theft, but also because releasing such information can be seen as threatening.

"It's really, I think, imperative that voters can rest assured that they aren't going to be contacted by people with intimidating intentions."

Simonson says notes on the photocopied forms suggest they had been received by county officials before being copied. The Social Security numbers were blacked out on the documents, but all other information was not. As of our news deadline, the New Mexico Republican Party had not released a response to the allegation.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - NM