New Mexico GOP Caught Distorting Law in Poll Training

New Mexico GOP Caught Distorting Law in Poll Training October 9, 2012

One of the ways the Republican party has long tried to suppress the vote is by having poll challengers at voting sites — in Democratic districts only, of course — to pick people out that they claim may be ineligible to vote and challenge their right to vote in front of poll workers. Progress New Mexico got a hidden camera into a training session for those poll challengers and caught them lying about what the law says about challenging voters:

A recording of the September 26th official “Poll Challenger Training” conducted by the Republican Party shows a GOP & Tea Party leader giving false and/or misleading information about voting rights and regulations to the training’s attendees. The training was replete with misinformation about ID requirements, the use of provisional ballots, assistance for Spanish-speaking citizens, change of address requirements, and the rights of the disabled at the polls…

A major discrepancy in the Republican training is the claim that people who have changed their addresses must show a physical ID (1) and their address must match…

FACT: Very few people will have to show ID on November 6th. It will be noted on the voter roll if they must show a form of physical ID. People who registered by mail and did not send in a copy of the documents allowed for ID with the registration are in this category. It does not have to be a picture ID and the address on the document does not have to match the voter registration address.

All other voters may give a verbal ID (name, address, birth year). If they do want to or cannot say it out loud (not wanting to say birth year, for example), they may write the information down and give it to the poll official. (See the full list of acceptable forms of ID on the Secretary of State’s website here)…

The trainer said that a person who changed their address but stayed within their same voting precinct should receive a provisional ballot. FACT: Anyone in this situation is given a regular ballot at the polls. (See 1 NMAC 10.3)

The trainer claims that interpreters are not provided to non-English speakers and then is unsure if polling places will provide Spanish-language ballots. FACT: Assistance for people in language minorities is provided, as are Spanish-language ballots.

Here’s the video of the training session with these false claims:


There are a couple reasons why they do this. First, to force people to use provisional ballots to vote, making it less likely that they’ll be counted before the results are announced. Second, to gum up the works and make people have to wait longer in line to vote, forcing those with short windows of time to leave. The ultimate goal is to decrease the number of people who can vote because the more people who vote, the less likely the Republicans are to win. At the Michigan Messenger in 2008, we caught the state GOP planning to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters, which was blatantly illegal. The DNC filed a federal lawsuit as a result and the Republicans were forced to abandon their plans.

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