Earlier this year, Donald Trump announced that New Mexico was going to be a priority target state for his campaign in 2020. It was only a matter of time before we could expect well-connected out-of-state interests to meddle in our elections like they have been doing in other states across the nation. Enter the operatives: True the Vote and the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) are two shady, out-of-state political shops that pride themselves on suppressing votes for conservative gain. And they’re coordinating to suppress the vote here in New Mexico by instituting barriers at every step of the process.
True the Vote funds lawsuits to purge voter rolls and suppress mail-in ballot efforts while PILF acts as the right-wing legal accomplice that, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, often uses false information to justify their lawsuits. And it doesn’t stop there. Their extreme agenda goes even further. According to a recent article by The Intercept, “True the Vote grew out of King Street Patriots, a local tea party chapter in Houston, Texas that was involved with intimidating voters at multiple polling locations in predominately nonwhite neighborhoods during the 2010 election. Volunteers with the group were reportedly seen “hovering over” voters, blocking lines, and engaging in confrontations with election workers. In 2012, True the Vote deployed poll watchers in Wisconsin who attempted to prevent students from voting.”
Their actions have been so severe that In 2012, Former U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings launched an investigation against True the Vote stating “If these efforts are intentional, politically motivated and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”
Today, the NM Supreme Court ruled against a Vote by Mail program that garnered bi-partisan support of 27 of 33 New Mexico County Clerks and would have expanded voting rights access for families across New Mexico during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Arguing against access to mail-in ballots was True the Vote, in a case prepared by James Bopp, an election advisor to… you guessed it… Donald Trump. An amicus brief was also submitted by their friends at PILF.
So why are out-of-state groups like True the Vote and PILF spending their time and money funding a court case against mail-in-ballots? It’s simple: to limit the number of people who turn out to vote in New Mexico elections.
As if voter suppression via the courts weren’t enough, True the Vote is hatching a plan to engage in physical intimidation tactics at voting sites across the country, including New Mexico. Recent audio leaked from a three-day conference held by Council for National Policy, a secretive foundation of the religious right, suggests that we militarize poll watchers in inner-city areas and on native lands.
So what’s the prize? Why suppress the vote in New Mexico?
With only 5 electoral votes, winning NM is strictly symbolic for Trump and cronies like True the Vote and PILF. We’re a border state full of Hispanic and Native Votes. If they can suppress enough votes here in New Mexico, Trump could use us as a “token” diversity state to push a false narrative that our communities support his presidency. They’re attacking families in NM because they thought it would be easy to buy an election here.
Little did they know how resilient our families are. Little did they know how big our resistance is.
Stay connected to ProgressNow New Mexico as we bring you more information throughout the election cycle. We’ll provide everything you need to battle the fake news.