In the middle of the night, and just hours before her next criminal hearing, Dianna Duran’s office announced that it was canceling the public hearing where we were set to deliver more than 1,200 petition signatures calling for her to stop her attempts to change election rules she is accused of breaking.
The reason? Dianna Duran has apparently resigned. Click to read the story and share on Facebook
Since Attorney General Balderas charged Duran in August, it’s been clear that New Mexico needs a new Secretary of State to restore integrity to our election system. But, Duran wouldn’t go.
Diana Duran is drowning in a sea of criminal charges including fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. And the bad news keeps coming. Last week, we learned that her scheme goes all the way back to her first election in 2010 when she lied about her treasurer and pocketed more money from her campaign. This week, KOB reports that a family member of Duran’s wrongly spent six months in jail when she accused him of breaking a custody agreement that never existed. And now there’s this: Dianna Duran just announced plans to use her power as Secretary of State to rewrite campaign finance rules she is accused of breaking. Really.
We’re sure you’ve seen this news by now. Late Friday, Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a 64-count criminal information charging the state’s top election officer with breaking election laws, and a whole lot more. To catch you up, here are the five things you need to know as this story develops:
Sec of State charged with 64 counts involving using campaign cash for personal use
House Dems: If Duran doesn’t resign, we’ll look to impeach
Read the 44 page, 64 count criminal filing
Duran’s defense attorney focuses on fighting AG’s investigation, but doesn’t publicly dispute the underlying allegations
Governor Martinez says “no one is above the law,” signaling her intent to put distance between herself and Duran
This news is no cause for celebration. It’s another black eye on New Mexico and the Sec. of State’s office that has seen its last three office holders – both Democrat and Republican – charged with crimes. We’ll need new leadership to return integrity to the office.
This week, House Minority Leader Brian Egolf announced that the Democratic caucus invited Republican leaders to join them in initiating impeachment proceedings against Duran. As legislators begin this process, some are asking New Mexicans to weigh in. Do you support impeachment of Dianna Duran by the House of Representatives?
In the same week that New Mexico’s legislature passed a restrictive mandatory photo voter ID bill through the House of Representatives, Oregon did something extraordinary that will do wonders in the effort to increase civic participation. From Al Jazeera America:
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation Monday making Oregon the first state to have automatic voter registration, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls. The “motor voter” legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry. As the Al Jazeera article notes, Oregon’s move comes as many other states are making it harder and harder for eligible voters to cast a ballot (since 2010, 22 states have tightened voter restrictions with 13 of those states passing mandatory photo voter ID laws). Hundreds of thousands of eligible New Mexicans are not currently registered to vote.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund released a fantastic report today in the run up to Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. The Academy Awards of Voter Suppression report highlights the worst actors on the democratic stage when it comes to denying access to the ballot box. Our very own Secretary of State Dianna Duran made the list, winning the award for “Best Cinematography.” Here’s the entire list of award winners:
Best Director: Charles and David Koch
Best Picture: North Carolina (emphasis on Gov. McCrory)
Best Actor: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Best Actress: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry
Best Cinematography: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
Best Original Screenplay: George Will
Best Costume Design: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp
CLICK HERE to read the full report and read below to see why Secretary Duran is taking home this not-so-prestigious award. Best Cinematography: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
Best Cinematography is awarded to the person who starred in or released grossly misleading advertisements with the aim of suppressing the vote.
“Voters should not have to trade their privacy and biological data in order to participate in democracy.” – Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation
The perennial push for enacting a mandatory photo voter ID law will hit the New Mexico Legislature very soon, possibly this week (it’s the only major piece of controversial Republican legislation yet to have had a hearing). Secretary of State Diana Duran made NM’s lack of such a law a centerpiece of her 2014 re-election bid and bills have already been filed that would mandate voters obtain photo identification in order to exercise their democratic rights. Conservatives have become obsessed with these laws in recent years, making a huge push across many states to enact them. Despite the fact that voter fraud is statistically non-existent and such laws inevitably reduce voter turnout (especially among young people, the elderly, and minorities), the right-wing has made mandatory photo voter ID laws a cornerstone of their governing strategy. The last thing NM needs is lower voter turnout. Electoral participation in NM’s 2014 general election was among the lowest in history and just a few weeks ago there was a school board election in Hagerman, NM in which not one person voted.
Our Secretary of State Dianna Duran has come under repeated criticism over the course of her tenure for a number of shady efforts to suppress voting rights, purge eligible voters, change election rules, and deny voters non-partisan electoral information. (This is all in addition to her crusade to pass mandatory photo voter ID legislation that would make it harder to vote for tens of thousands of New Mexicans, mostly seniors, young people, and military veterans.)
Duran’s office is also out of compliance with New Mexico’s “Motor Voter” program — a program that’s supposed to allow New Mexicans to complete/update their voter registration when they apply for or renew their licenses. We’ve previously reported on Secretary Duran’s failure to properly oversee this program and the jeopardy in which that failure placed thousands of voter registrations. Here’s some background from our report:
After voting rights groups filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the state for failing to comply with federal voting rights laws, the state entered into a settlement agreement allowing New Mexicans to complete voter registration when they apply for or renew their licenses. The requirement, known as “motor voter,” is a component of the National Voting Rights Act.
In surprising news out of Santa Fe today, Bobbi Shearer and Rod Adair have resigned from their positions at the Secretary of State’s office, “effective immediately.”
From the NM Political Report:
After four years, Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer will leave her position. Shearer will stay with the office on a short-term basis to work on “legislative initiations and other election related issues” according to an email from Secretary of State Dianna Duran. Chief of Staff Ken Ortiz confirmed to New Mexico Political Report that Rod Adair, most recently a spokesman for the Secretary of State, is also no longer at the office. Duran made the announcement about Shearer, obtained by New Mexico Political Report, in an email to county clerks throughout the state. Shearer’s departure may be surprising because she just oversaw the statewide election that saw her boss, Secretary of State Diana Duran re-elected to another four-year-term.
Republican Dianna Duran is fighting hard to hang onto the Office of Secretary of State. After fumbling a voter fraud
investigation that led Duran to improperly accuse 64,000 legally registered voters of voter fraud, Duran now comes with a TV ad claiming that she investigated and won convictions for voter fraud. That sounds great if you are a Republican running for office and, if true, would have been “Breaking News” on Fox News, for sure. The problem is, its not true at all. The Secretary of State has no law enforcement power and can’t prosecute or convict anyone of anything.