New Mexico voter registration records have always been available to the public. Candidates, organizations, and political parties use this information for regular voter contact such as calling, texting or knocking on doors to ask for support for candidates and ballot issues. Oftentimes, this information is used to merely remind eligible voters that an election is coming up and to exercise their right to cast their vote for whomever they may support. Requesting these records have always required a certain process be followed, ensuring that voter information was being used only for its intended purpose.
On Friday, July 22, a change occurred and old voter registration information from April 2021 became available to anyone publicly via an unregulated third-party website. This unguarded, publicly available information has the potential to open the door to voter intimidation by groups and individuals who wish to pressure New Mexicans into voting a specific way and is backed by out of state interests trying to change the outcome of our elections. We know that no matter what your political affiliation, as New Mexicans we value our privacy and right to be forgotten. It is important to remember that even with basic voter registration party information available, NO ONE has or can access WHO you have voted for in the past or the future.
Voter intimidation in New Mexico is not new. We saw it in the 2020 election when Trump car parades targeted specific polling locations including those in communities of color and again, more recently, with door knockers in Otero County intimidating people on their front door steps, inquiring about their 2020 presidential vote. This decision by a New Mexico judge opens the door to increased voter intimidation.
As far right groups continue to massively spread disinformation about the security of our elections and increase their voter intimidation tactics, this change in available information causes further concern. Luckily, this decision by a New Mexico Judge is not the final word. New Mexico state law requires that voter registration data only be used for “used for governmental or election and election campaign purposes” and a third party public website has no way to regulate the outcome of the use of that data. Here’s what New Mexicans can do to if they are concerned:
- Sign this petition. This goes beyond party politics and affects every New Mexicans right to privacy.
- Send a detailed email to [email protected] with any concerns or complaints that arise from the release of the voter rolls.
- Vote. We must continue to elect leaders that will protect our right to vote, fair elections, and privacy.
- Know the difference between normal voter contact and voter intimidation.