Elections Ahead

Voter Purge Redux: What to do if you get a voter purge notice

In case you missed the news yesterday, New Mexico’s Secretary of State Dianna Duran has begun the process (again) of purging New Mexico’s voter rolls. Duran’s office sent out postcards to 186,000 New Mexico residents to confirm their voting addresses. From the Associated Press:

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The secretary of state’s office is sending out postcards to about 186,000 New Mexicans seeking to confirm their voter registration address.

The mailings going out this week could ultimately lead to people being purged from voter registration rolls in 2017, if their postcard is returned as undeliverable and they don’t vote in the next two years or update their address.

Bureau of Election Director Bobbi Shearer said the mailings will not affect anyone’s ability to vote in the upcoming general election.

She also said the office is following federal law in starting the process to clean up voter registration rolls.

Those receiving the postcards include voters who’ve filed a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service or had election-related mail returned as undeliverable.


56b2e-120410-supreme-3639wIf this seems like deja vu it’s because in 2012 Duran came under fire after she sent similar postcards to 177,000 New Mexico voters who had been deemed “inactive.”

We called out the quality of Duran’s process, however, after many active, eligible voters received these postcards, including the voting rights director of Common Cause New Mexico who had been an active voter for over 40 years. The wife of state Representative Brian Egolf also received one of these postcards, which prompted Rep. Egolf to say this about Duran’s purge process:

“I am really afraid and personally concerned that this is just part of the national trend that Republicans are hell-bent to remove as many people from the rolls as possible,” he said. “It seems that (Secretary of State) Dianna Duran is following the Republican playbook and pushing the limit as far as she can.”

Previous purge processes and how we stopped them

In 2012, we helped made Duran into national news when our video story of one 40-year lifelong voter targeted for removal from the voter rolls called into question the process Duran used to find her targets.

Just a year later, in 2013, we learned that Duran was again targeting a new round of purge letters to more voters, this time telling local canvass boards to go around the county clerks and target local voters for removal.

After we exposed the internal letter in the press, Duran backed down.

In the run up to an important election like that of November 2014, sending these purge cards to potentially eligible voters can cause confusion and can discourage voters from going to the polls.

To be fair, election officials are responsible for keeping the voter rolls clean, but doing so just weeks before an election without any public education campaign is downright reckless and leaves many voters confused enough to just stay away.


What to do if YOU (or someone you know) gets a voter purge card

First, check your current voter registration information online.  You can do that here.

If you need to update your address, contact your county clerk.

If your address is correct online and/or it shows you have voted recently, you may have been improperly targeted for removal from the voter rolls.  Contact us at info[at]progressnownm.org or call us at 505.312.8509 for assistance in preserving your right to vote.

3 thoughts on “Voter Purge Redux: What to do if you get a voter purge notice

  1. Isn’t there anyway to get Duran out of office for doing this? Couldn’t she be voted out by the Legislature? or “impeached” for fraud? Barbara Aran

    1. There is a statewide election in November. The best way to get rid of her is to elect the other candidate. Fortunately, the other candidate is our great Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who is dedicated to having people register and vote easily and properly.

      The League of Women Voters will have voter guides for various parts of the state, which show the candidates and issues side by side. They don’t endorse candidates, contrary to the opinion of this Secretary of State, who has thrown the voter guides out of the polling places. A long-time pollworker told me she even wanted the guides taken away from voters who brought them with them.

      By the way, the Legislature doesn’t meet till January. This will be a long session (60 days), open to any legislation, not just what the Gov. requests.

  2. The NM Secretary of State is again sending these notices to people who have just filed a change of address in the last few years. Even people who have changed their voter registration address and kept voting. Has anybody checked the state or federal voting laws to see if this is legal? State Sen. and Attorney Daniel Ivey-Soto is probably the most knowledgeable about state voter laws, since he is exec. Dir. of the County Clerk’s Assoc.

    None of the articles I have seen lately about this have reminded people that there are voter registration forms at libraries. The forms can be filled out and mailed in, postage paid, by the voter. They don’t have to go to the County Clerk’s office to re-register, which could be a burden in rural areas. But it is good to talk to them about what is required.

    Also, isn’t she in trouble for violating a federal consent decree about Motor Voter? people weren’t getting the chance to re-register at public agencies as the law required. I think you have reported on this. Has anything happened?

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