Court Brief: Thousands of Dead, Duplicated Registrants Could Get Mail Ballots in New Mexico

New Amicus Brief Outlines Potentially Dead, Duplicate Registrants at Risk of Getting Mail Ballots

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) – April 8, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a request to file an amicus brief in the ongoing New Mexico Supreme Court lawsuit to adopt emergency all-mail balloting for the 2020 Election (New Mexico v. Toulouse Oliver).

The brief outlines flaws in the statewide New Mexico voter registration roll that could directly impact any all-mail balloting scenario in 2020.  It would potentially send thousands of mail ballots to registrants who have died, have multiple registrations, or are registered at commercial addresses.

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said: “We know from our data that New Mexico’s voter roll is not maintained to the standard needed for an automatic, all-mail election. There are concrete solutions, but rushing headlong to vote-by-mail is not one of them.”

New Mexico Voter Roll Audit Quick Facts

— # of Registrations flagged for duplicate concerns: 3,168

— # of Potentially Dead Registrants: 1,681

— # of Registrants Appearing Aged 100+: 1,519

— # of Registrations Potentially Showing Commercial Addresses: 188

The brief also attaches a notice of violation to the New Mexico Secretary of State for failing to maintain the list pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

The Foundation ultimately sampled all active registrants, finding more than 1,681 potentially listed as dead according to the Social Security Death Index and corresponding published obituaries. Of chief concern was the amount of time these “active” registrants have each remained on the rolls beyond their respective dates of passing. Eighty-seven percent (87%) died in the year 2018 or before—some reaching back to the early 1980s.

The Foundation also studied and catalogued examples of single registrants who potentially managed to become registered to vote multiple times with matching or substantially similar names and other biographical information within the same addresses. The Foundation flagged a sample of 3,168 registration files for duplicate concerns.

The Foundation also flagged impossibly old dates of birth held within the voter file. More than 1,519 were flagged age 100 years or older. Taken at face value, the oldest registrants in the New Mexico (64 of them) are each 120-years-old.

The Foundation also flagged another 188 registrants who potentially claimed commercial addresses as residential ones. 

The Public Interest Legal Foundation devoted significant resources into developing real data tools that find problems with election administration and works cooperatively with officials to fix findings. PILF has sought to employ credible real-world solutions across the country in multiple venues to improve elections–sometimes quietly and cooperatively–and with litigation. PILF currently has six active lawsuits in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, and Maine and just recently settled a case in Houston, Texas. PILF employs concrete solutions to real problems in election administration.

The litigation continues in the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico. The case number is S-1-SC-38228. The attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams and Noel Johnson. Albuquerque-based Patrick J. Rogers serves as local counsel.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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