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186,000 NM Voters Urged to Watch for Postcard from Secretary of State

PHOTO: Tens of thousands of registered voters in New Mexico are being sent postcards by the secretary of state as the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, closes in. They are requesting address confirmation, and advocates for voters' rights say they shouldn't be ignored. Photo courtesy the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.
PHOTO: Tens of thousands of registered voters in New Mexico are being sent postcards by the secretary of state as the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, closes in. They are requesting address confirmation, and advocates for voters' rights say they shouldn't be ignored. Photo courtesy the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.
August 13, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. - With less than three months to go before the general election, New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran is sending postcards to 186,000 voters in what she calls an effort to ensure that the state's voter rolls are up to date.

The postcards are intended to confirm the addresses of registered voters, Duran said, adding that sending them is a requirement of the National Voter Registration Act. However, Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, said he believes the state could have done more to promote and explain the purpose of the postcards.

"That's what's really concerning, is that they haven't taken the time to explain to the public who they're going to target and what the public has to do if they receive one of these notices," he said. "That's what's really scary."

Davis said many people get a lot of junk mail, routinely throw out postcards or fliers and may not recognize the importance of the Secretary of State's mailer.

According to Duran's office, voters who are mailed the postcard will be placed in "inactive" status on voter rolls unless they return the postcard to confirm or update their address. Duran said people who vote in any election between now and the 2016 general election will be placed in "active" status on the voter rolls.

Accuracy is a big concern with New Mexico's voter rolls, Davis said, especially since the secretary of state purged some registered voters with current addresses in a previous update effort.

"There were dozens who showed up who had been lifelong voters, were at the correct address," he said, "and the secretary of state's office was never able to determine how it was that their sort of 'scraping' of that data captured good and bad voters and flagged them all to be taken off the voter roll."

Davis said people who receive a postcard from the secretary of state should contact that office, or their local city or county elections office in the short term.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM