ACLU of New Mexico Demands that Dianna Duran Relinquish Remaining Records

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
January 10, 2012 12:00 am

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ACLU of New Mexico
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ACLU-NM Files Motion for Summary Judgment in NM District Court

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) of New Mexico filed a motion for summary judgment in New Mexico State Court, Second District, demanding that Secretary of State Dianna Duran stop withholding public information in violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act. The motion claims that Duran wrongfully refused to produce documentation related to her March 15, 2011 allegations that foreign nationals have illegally voted in New Mexico elections. ACLU-NM asks the court to instruct Duran to disclose the list of 117 foreign nationals who are allegedly registered to vote and the list of 37 foreign nationals who have allegedly cast ballots in previous elections. For nine months, Duran has refused to disclose these public records, which are the basis for her claims of a “culture of corruption” in New Mexico’s elections.

“Secretary of State Duran undermined the public’s confidence in our elections when she alleged fraud, then refused to substantiate those claims,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “Making unfounded allegations that cast doubt on the integrity of our entire system of government is reckless. This is not how a transparent and accountable government should behave.”

Immediately following Duran’s announcement in March, the ACLU of New Mexico filed a public records request to verify her allegations of voting irregularities. Her office refused, incorrectly claiming that the information was protected under executive privilege. Duran’s office rendered useless the little information they did relinquish through heavy redaction. In response, ACLU-NM filed a lawsuit, claiming that Duran violated the Inspection of Public Records Act by withholding important information the public has the right to access.

In the discovery process of the lawsuit, the ACLU of New Mexico forced the Secretary of State to relinquish more than 100 pages of documentation that the Secretary of State falsely claimed was protected by executive privilege and the New Mexico Driver Privacy Protection Act. However, the Office of the Secretary of State still denies the public access to the lists of alleged foreign national voters and the signature rosters/checklists that would prove they cast ballots in an election.

“New Mexicans shouldn’t have to sue their government to access the public records they are entitled to under law,” said ACLU-NM Managing Attorney Laura Schauer Ives. “Unfortunately, it seems that the Secretary of State would rather fight lawsuits on the taxpayers’ dime than allow the public to hold her official statements up to the light.”

Read the motion for summary judgment here.

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