Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004

 

Acknowledgements


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Here, I use the definition of Swing States by the Swing State Project

Please select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that means there is no content for that state yet).

NEW MEXICO

11/16/04 [Permalink]
Numerous (potentially hundreds of) ballots rejected in New Mexico for trivial reasons such as missing middle initials or other minor technicalities

Via reader LV, an article in the Albuquerque Journal:

A Democratic attorney and an election volunteer for the party said workers disqualified hundreds of provisional ballots cast in Bernalillo County because of names that had a missing middle initial or some other minor discrepancy. They urged commissioners to reconsider the rejection of those ballots, if they could.
    The commissioners, however, said they didn't have authority to question the qualification of provisional ballots. They voted 3-0 in favor of certifying the Nov. 2 election results, which were sent to the Secretary of State's Office.
   Roughly half of those ballots were disqualified in the canvassing process. The most common reason was that the person wasn't registered to vote anywhere in the county.
    But Democratic attorney Jim Noel said his party's observers had seen at least 330 provisional ballots rejected due to minor discrepancies. Those were cases where voters had to show identification but the ID didn't exactly match the name on the voter registration.
    The ballots were tossed even if it was only a middle initial that was missing, he said.
    Herrera also told the Journal on Thursday that ballots were rejected if the person's name on the registration rolls didn't match the name they signed when voting.
    Herrera and a county attorney said Friday that they were following instructions from the state. "It doesn't mean I agree with it," Herrera said.
    But Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron said Friday she did not instruct clerks to toss provisional ballots if the signatures did not exactly match the person's name on voter rolls.
    She said voters' addresses and first and last names must match, but officials should not have invalidated ballots if middle initials or titles such as "Jr." or "Sr." did not match.
    "Common sense has got to be applied here," Vigil-Giron said.
    She said her office probably will return election results to counties if officials rejected ballots because signatures did not perfectly match voters' names on registration rolls.

 

11/11/04 [Permalink]
Several hundred provisional ballots of registered Democrats disqualified in New Mexico by Republican judge; ballots certified "good" turn out to be all Republican; this news comes as reports indicate that provisional ballots in New Mexico are being rejected at higher rates than expected

Via reader radtimes, here is a report in the Albuquerque Tribune:

A Republican judge in one voting precinct has some explaining to do, Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said this morning.

As the weary clerk's staff continued to examine provisional ballots, attention gathered on one batch in which the disqualified ballots all were Democrat and those that qualified were Republican, Herrera said.

Herrera's staff had been combing through 2,000 "questionable" ballots, which led to the certification of 1,400 of them.

Those that weren't certified bothered her staff. The main reason for disqualifying them, she said, was because an affidavit testifying to the voter's identity, which is supposed to be signed by a presiding judge, was not in the outer of two envelopes that are supposed to be turned in to election workers. That rule was prescribed by New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron.

Today Herrera said a Republican presiding judge in one particular precinct was in charge of several hundred bad ballots. The problem, Herrera said, was that the bad ballots, with affidavits inside, were largely Democrats. The good ones were for Republican voters.

"It made us kind of sick," Herrera said. "It was too obvious."

Herrera did not know which precinct had the problems, but she planned to meet with the presiding judge today.

"Right now I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt," Herrera said. "I'm hoping they wouldn't do that purposely. I will talk to that presiding judge."

Reader radtimes also sent in this report from the Albuquerque Journal:

Provisional ballots in Bernalillo County are being rejected at a rate higher than earlier estimates.

And that makes it even more unlikely that John Kerry can overtake President Bush in New Mexico.

As of Tuesday evening, Bernalillo County election officials working under the watchful eye of Republican and Democrat observers had reviewed about 9,000 of the approximately 13,000 provisional and in-lieu-of ballots cast in last week's election.

Here's an approximate breakdown so far:   

  • 3,000 have been accepted and will be counted;   
  • 4,000 have been rejected and won't be counted;   
  • 2,000 are undergoing further review;   
  • The rest have not been reviewed.

The "reject" category so far is bigger than election officials had predicted.

"It's a lot sadder than what I would expect because that's a lot of people who thought that their vote counted and it didn't," said County Clerk Mary Herrera. "That's because they didn't understand what a provisional ballot really was. A lot of them thought that they could go vote anywhere."

The primary reason for rejecting the ballots was that the people who cast them were not registered to vote, she said.

 

11/2/04_1 [Permalink]
Older News: Non-partisan voter registration drive illegally blocked in New Mexico and decision reversed after criticism mounted

Via PFAW/NAACP, here is a report:

In New Mexico, officials at several Indian Health Service (IHS) hospitals and clinics stopped an on-site, nonpartisan voter registration program saying that even nonpartisan voter registration was prohibited on federal property.  Clinic staff involved in the registration complained, noting that the federal government has encouraged registration on military bases.   As criticism mounted, the Indian Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, clarified its position saying that outside groups may register voters at IHS facilities but that “no IHS employee will be registering voters as part of his or her official duties.”  When asked for clarification, IHS officials would only say that employees are expected to follow the Hatch Act, the law restricting partisan activity by federal workers.[i] 

[i] Jo Becker, “Indian Health Agency Barred New-Voter Drive,” Washington Post, 10/6/04

 

10/30/04 [Permalink]
Flashback: Another ACORN-related registration fraud incident. Again, it involved an employee previously fired by ACORN.

Via Votersunite, an incident from August 2004 (bold text is my emphasis):

Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera plans to meet with the U.S. Attorney's Office as early as this week to discuss suspicious voter registration forms.

"It's going to be up to them," Herrera said. "I am not a prosecutor."

Herrera has almost 3,000 voter registration forms with errors on them. Many could be honest mistakes, such as a registrant who failed to sign their name or who gave a faulty address.

But then there's the case of Glen Stout's 13-year-old son, Kevin, who received a voter registration card in the mail last week.
...
Rep. Joe Thompson, an Albuquerque Republican and lawyer. The lawsuit was filed Friday in state district court.

Thompson and others added Stout to the lawsuit and are now blaming voter registration groups for submitting many of the thousands of incorrect voter registration forms turned in to the Bernalillo County Clerk's office.

They have zeroed in on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which says it has turned in 25,000 voter registration forms. ACORN employees are paid $8 an hour to register voters, and workers receive a $50 bonus if they turn in more than 24 new voter registration forms per day.

On Tuesday, Stout and Thompson stood outside ACORN's door at 411 Bellamah Ave. N.W. and blamed the group for faulty voter registration cards.

"We have proof," Thompson declared.

Part of that proof, they say, includes a copy, produced by Thompson, of young Stout's voter registration form, turned in by Christina Gonzales, a former ACORN employee.

But Matthew Henderson, a spokesman for ACORN, disputed Thompson's claims, and said his organization fired Gonzales in May for what he called "dishonest practices" unrelated to voter registration forms.

He took issue with Thompson's assertions about voter fraud and said his organization has three full-time staff members who work to identify fraudulent cards.

Yet another case indicating that ACORN was defrauded by a former employee. More on ACORN here.

 

10/22/04 [Permalink
E-voting machine nightmare begins: votes for one candidate show up repeatedly as votes for the opposing candidate in New Mexico

Via chicagoprogressive at Dailykos, we have this report in the Albuquerqe Journal:

Kim Griffith voted on Thursday— over and over and over.
    She's among the people in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties who say they have had trouble with early voting equipment. When they have tried to vote for a particular candidate, the touch-screen system has said they voted for somebody else.
    It's a problem that can be fixed by the voters themselves— people can alter the selections on their ballots, up to the point when they indicate they are finished and officially cast the ballot.
    For Griffith, it took a lot of altering.
    She went to Valle Del Norte Community Center in Albuquerque, planning to vote for John Kerry. "I pushed his name, but a green check mark appeared before President Bush's name," she said.
    Griffith erased the vote by touching the check mark at Bush's name. That's how a voter can alter a touch-screen ballot.
    She again tried to vote for Kerry, but the screen again said she had voted for Bush. The third time, the screen agreed that her vote should go to Kerry.
    She faced the same problem repeatedly as she filled out the rest of the ballot. On one item, "I had to vote five or six times," she said.
    Michael Cadigan, president of the Albuquerque City Council, had a similar experience when he voted at City Hall.
    "I cast my vote for president. I voted for Kerry and a check mark for Bush appeared," he said.
    He reported the problem immediately and was shown how to alter the ballot.
    Cadigan said he doesn't think he made a mistake the first time. "I was extremely careful to accurately touch the button for my choice for president," but the check mark appeared by the wrong name, he said.
    Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said she doesn't believe the touch-screen system has been making mistakes. It's the fault of voters, she said Thursday.
    Cadigan, for example, could have "leaned his palm on the touch screen and it hit the wrong button," she said.
    In Sandoval County, three Rio Rancho residents said they had a similar problem, with opposite results. They said a touch-screen machine switched their presidential votes from Bush to Kerry.
    Bureau of Elections Manager Eddie Gutierrez also said he doesn't believe there are problems with the machines.
    But Gutierrez did replace one after someone complained— even though he found nothing wrong with it.
    "He (the voter) felt so strongly about it, that I shut it down," Gutierrez said.
    Herrera said she's heard stories from Democrats and Republicans. In some cases, when people have tried to vote a straight ticket, the screen has given their votes to every candidate in the opposite political party, she said.
    She believes it's a people problem. "I have confidence in the machines," she said. "They are touch screens. People are touching them with their palms, or leaning their hand. ... They're hitting the wrong button."

It is outrageous to simply blame the people for this. e-Voting machines have long shown problems and this is a threat to democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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