NM House candidate ballot scheme uncovered

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UPDATE (Apr 29): The Albuquerque Journal reports that the NM Supreme Court upholds District Court ruling that Luevano cannot run for HD16.

UPDATE (Apr 11): On Monday, April 9th District Court Judge Alan Malot ruled that Johnny Luevano — the prospective candidate ProgressNow New Mexico first revealed as being ineligible to run for state office — was, in fact, not eligible to run as a candidate in District 16 and ordered that his name be stricken from the ballot.

Judge Malot ruled that Mr. Luevano did not meet the residency requirements to run for state office because Mr. Luevano did not possess a certificate of occupancy for his Rio Rancho property by the March 6th deadline.

UPDATE (Mar 22, 9:45 am): Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver tells ProgressNow NM that she has referred the case of GOP State House candidate Johnny Luevano to the Sheriff and a criminal investigation is underway.

On Tuesday, ProgressNow NM reported that Luevano had registered to vote and declared his candidacy for State House in a district where he did not live.  We shared the report with the County Clerk, and late yesterday received a response that she had turned over Luevano’s voter registration card in question and requested the county sheriff initiate an investigation.

 


 

 

Did this Republican candidate lie to become a candidate for office?

 

You decide.

 

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Less than a month after ProgressNow NM connected the dots between the campaign of US Senate candidate Heather Wilson and an “anonymous” man who registered his dog to vote, we’ve uncovered another GOP candidate for office with similar problems.

 

On Tuesday, Johnny Luévano filed paperwork to run as a candidate for our StateHouse of Representatives representing Albuquerque’s Westside in District 16. 

 

He only has one problem.  He doesn’t live there.


Watch the videoarrow right

for an exclusive look at

Luevano’s real home in the county,

and the one he has claimed in the city. 


In April 2011, Luévano registered to vote in what is now District 16 and he and has voted in at least one election using that address. 

 

The problem?  When he registered, that address didn’t even exist.  It was an unnumbered vacant lot until Luévano began construction on a house there in late 2011.  It wasn’t even legal to live there until March 14, 2012 when the city issued a certificate of occupancy for the property.

 

LuevanoVoterRegEd.jpgBut way back in April 2011, Luévano filled out a New Mexico voter registration card and in the space marked “location where you now live” he wrote in the address for his vacant dirt lot

Johnny Luevano’s 2011 Voter Registration Card: Click it to view fullsize

So where does he live?  Until recently: Tucson.  But since returning to New Mexico, he and his family have been comfortably living at 2011 Cook Avenue Southwest in unincorporated Bernalillo County.  That’s about 6 miles (as the crow flies) and a 15-minute drive south of the City of Albuquerque district he wants to represent.

 

So how does a man who doesn’t live in the city vote and run for office there?

 

That’s a good question for the city and county clerks to ask.

 

Seems Luévano and the GOP are trying to put one over on New Mexico voters. 

 

Though Luévano has been building a house on that vacant lot for a few months, it was not completed by March 6, the deadline set by law for establishing residency to run for state office.  We even went by last week and still found it vacant more than two weeks after the deadline.

 

But, by registering and voting at his vacant lot address in 2011, Luévano was establishing a record in that district.

 

And without some determined digging, you might never know that the vacant lot and unfinished house occupying 1715 Bluffside Drive have been the home for more than a year of the GOP’s handpicked candidate to represent the Westside.

 

So, what next?

 

Without a doubt, Luévano was not a resident of District 16 on March 6, so the Secretary of State is obligated to disqualify him from the ballot.

 

And the Albuquerque City Clerk (who administers city elections where Luévano may have cast illegal votes), the Bernalillo County Clerk (who oversees the county’s voter roles) and the Bernalillo County Sheriff (currently investigating a Heather Wilson campaign staffer for similar voter registration fraud offenses) should all have an interest in determining whether Luévano’s “register and vote from a vacant lot” scheme crossed a legal line.

 

Finally, the New Mexico GOP should be asked to answer some tough questions about the candidates they recruit for public office, and just how far they are willing to go to win.

 

If you are seeing a pattern, you are not alone. 

 

In just this month alone, a former Republican mayor from Alamogordo was charged with felony offenses for altering the voter registration cards to help in his current city commission race.

 

And then there is the “Hounds for Heather” scandal first uncovered by ProgressNow New Mexico.  After our investigation, the family of a senior staffer in the Heather Wilson for Senate campaign is currently under criminal investigation for registering their dog to vote as a Democrat.

 

To be fair, several officials and in Sunland Park (mostly registered as Democrats) are currently charged with attempting to interfere with a recent election.  But those allegations gained a swift and certain response from Secretary of State Diana Duran and Governor Susana Martinez, both Republicans.  In addition to the State Auditor stepping in, the SOS herself showed up to audit the elections, the Republican District Attorney tried to stop the elections and the governor sent the State Police to investigate and make arrests.

 

But Duran and Martinez have been eerily silent in cases involving their own party.

 

The door swings both ways, and they have an obligation to explain how candidates they recruit and publicly support have so far been given a free pass to ignore the law and undermine the integrity of our election system.