October 22, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  wpotter@aclu-nm.org

ALBUQUERQUE — In a letter to the New Mexico Attorney General today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico called for a criminal investigation into concerns that the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office may have released confidential voter registration information to the Republican Party, and that the Party may have publicly distributed that information in violation of state laws protecting voter privacy. A press packet distributed by the GOP last week contained photocopies of 19 voter registration forms, and acknowledged that the Party obtained 92 voter registration forms in all. Several of the forms displayed written notes in a space reserved for "office use only," suggesting that they had been reviewed by County officials before arriving in the Party's hands. 

New Mexico state law prohibits the County Clerk from releasing voter registration to anyone except registrants and it assesses a fourth degree felony upon any, "person who unlawfully copies, conveys, or uses information from a certificate of registration."

"The evidence suggests to us a stunning disregard for the privacy of New Mexico voters and the laws of our state that ensure orderly elections," ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson said. "Voters should not have to fear that their identifying information is going to make its way into the hands of people who want to influence their vote or intimidate them into not voting at all."

Although the GOP blacked out social security numbers on the registration forms released to the press, they left names, addresses, phone numbers, and, in some instances, dates of birth unredacted. Simonson urged immediate intervention by state authorities.

"We still do not know how the GOP obtained these registration forms, whether they might obtain more, and if someone in the County Clerk's office is sharing the information with other parties," Simonson said. "The threat to voters' privacy is imminent."

A copy of the ACLU's letter to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office is here: www.aclu-nm.org/PDF/3958_001.pdf

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