Voter Purge Redux: What to do if you get a voter purge notice
In case you missed the news yesterday, New Mexico’s Secretary of State Dianna Duran has begun the process (again) of purging New Mexico’s voter rolls. Duran’s office sent out postcards to 186,000 New Mexico residents to confirm their voting addresses. From the Associated Press:
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The secretary of state’s office is sending out postcards to about 186,000 New Mexicans seeking to confirm their voter registration address.
The mailings going out this week could ultimately lead to people being purged from voter registration rolls in 2017, if their postcard is returned as undeliverable and they don’t vote in the next two years or update their address.
Bureau of Election Director Bobbi Shearer said the mailings will not affect anyone’s ability to vote in the upcoming general election.
She also said the office is following federal law in starting the process to clean up voter registration rolls.
Those receiving the postcards include voters who’ve filed a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service or had election-related mail returned as undeliverable.
If this seems like deja vu it’s because in 2012 Duran came under fire after she sent similar postcards to 177,000 New Mexico voters who had been deemed “inactive.”
We called out the quality of Duran’s process, however, after many active, eligible voters received these postcards, including the voting rights director of Common Cause New Mexico who had been an active voter for over 40 years. The wife of state Representative Brian Egolf also received one of these postcards, which prompted Rep. Egolf to say this about Duran’s purge process:
“I am really afraid and personally concerned that this is just part of the national trend that Republicans are hell-bent to remove as many people from the rolls as possible,” he said. “It seems that (Secretary of State) Dianna Duran is following the Republican playbook and pushing the limit as far as she can.”
Previous purge processes and how we stopped them
In 2012, we helped made Duran into national news when our video story of one 40-year lifelong voter targeted for removal from the voter rolls called into question the process Duran used to find her targets.
- Voter Purge Error: ProgressNowNM profiles lifelong voter targeted for purge by Secretary of State
Just a year later, in 2013, we learned that Duran was again targeting a new round of purge letters to more voters, this time telling local canvass boards to go around the county clerks and target local voters for removal.
After we exposed the internal letter in the press, Duran backed down.
- Voter purge on pause, says ProgressNow NM | NM Telegram, Feb. 2013
In the run up to an important election like that of November 2014, sending these purge cards to potentially eligible voters can cause confusion and can discourage voters from going to the polls.
To be fair, election officials are responsible for keeping the voter rolls clean, but doing so just weeks before an election without any public education campaign is downright reckless and leaves many voters confused enough to just stay away.
What to do if YOU (or someone you know) gets a voter purge card
First, check your current voter registration information online. You can do that here.
If you need to update your address, contact your county clerk.
If your address is correct online and/or it shows you have voted recently, you may have been improperly targeted for removal from the voter rolls. Contact us at info[at]progressnownm.org or call us at 505.312.8509 for assistance in preserving your right to vote.