April 23, 2024

New Mexico Accused of Hiding More Election Records

The lawsuit alleges just months after New Mexico’s top election official settled a court case over lack of transparency that she wo n’t reveal important details about a new electronic signature-verification system for putting candidates on the ballot.

After first preventing access to files, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver settled the public records dispute with a think tank for$ 22 000 over voting information.

Last year, the same organization—the Southwestern Public Policy Institute—sued suddenly in New Mexico’s 13th Judicial District in Sandoval County over records regarding the state’s personal- verification portal.

The think tank supports the voter-friendly Online Candidate Nominating Petition Șignature Portal, which helps individuals become eligible for tⱨe vote.

But more transparency is required from Oliver as New Mexico’s top vote standard, it says.

” Here we go afterwards. The secretary of state still has n’t learned her lesson about government transparency”, Patrick M. Brenner, president of the Southwest Public Policy Institute, toId The Daily Signal. We made sure that the new complaint holds her personally accountable in her power as secretary of state.

The state government approved the online website lαst year, but Brenner claimed it has experienced “growing discomfort. “

He claimed to have first knowledge of those growing pains, and that he received two error messages when attempting to signify a candidate’s name.

” The answer was at first grammatically wrong, but more significantly, it was technically incorrect”, Brenner said. ” It said I already signed. That’s wrong. We are investigating the problem creation”.

New Mexico ranks 36th in the couȵtry on The Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard, with a ȿcore of 51 out of 100. The state got low marks for allowing similar- day voter registration, never enforcing voter ID, and no investigating citizenship. The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s reports and remark platform.

New Mexico scores also on Heritage’s vote scorecard for preventing outlawed ballot planting, allowing election observers, and properly counting votes.

Nevertheless, Oliver made the announcement this week that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Elections Performance Index named New Mexico as the best state in the country. The state had ɱoved up eight areas since the 2018 election, she said.

I’m glad to have helped upgrade New Mexico’s elections by finding a balance between voting access and election security, according to Oliver, who in a public statement praised the MIT rating.

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office did n’t respond to inquiries about the new litigation.

In the complaint, the Southwest Public Policy Institute asks the company for information on “e- election complaint software” between Nov. 1, 2023, and Jan. 5, 2024.

The suit cites Oliver’s “unreasonable failure” as secretary of state to provide a” complete and timely response” to the think tank’s Jan. 5 request for public records.

After some communication, Oliver’s office got back to the think tank on March 1 and promised to “provide an updated response on or before March 15”, according to the lawsuit.

But that response never came, the Southwest Public Policy Institute says, so it sued.

The complaint asks for a court order requiring Oliver to “immediately permit inspection of all nonexempt public records” in relation to the think tank’s request and awarding statutory damages of$ 100 per day, starting last January 20 until Oliver complies or explains a denial in writing.