I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
MALDEF sues over N.M. voter intimidation case
What’s voter intimidation? “Well, what if I called you and said, ‘Hey, did you see the news? They’re saying that you committed voter fraud,’” explained Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest regional counsel and lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “We believe that part of the intimidation has been the release of this information to the media.”
On Oct. 16, state Rep. Justine Fox-Young said at a news conference “We are presenting undeniable proof that there was voter fraud in the June election,” before passing out packets of information that included incompletely redacted copies of voter registration cards.
Last week, NMI broke the story that a private investigator hired by Rogers visited the homes of several newly registered voters. Dora Escobedo, one of the women in our story (we didn’t mention her by name at the request of her family) has now gone public; she is the lead plaintiff in the MALDEF lawsuit.
Rogers and the private investigator, Al Romero, did not respond to voicemail messages left for them Monday by NMI. Perales said another plaintiff in the suit, Lydia Olivarez, was upset because the information released by Fox-Young “suggests that either somebody has stolen Lydia’s identity — or Lydia stole somebody else’s Social Security number, to get credit or to work illegally under that identity.”
Perales said she talked extensively to both plaintiffs, who recounted their stories in detail.
Escobedo became a citizen within the last year, but speaks only Spanish. “When the private investigator came to her house, he said to her ‘I don’t think you’re a citizen,’ and threatened to call Immigration,” Perales recounted. ”He said to her, ‘What are you going to do when Immigration gets here?’ She said, ‘I’ll talk to them, I’ll show them my papers,’ and he laughed at her.”
“The campaign of threats and intimidation against Latino voters in Albuquerque violates federal law and will not be tolerated,” MALDEF declared in a press release issued today.
Perales also said Monday that NMI’s reporting on this issue helped her organization keep track of events as they unfolded in New Mexico and helped push MALDEF to take immediate action to prevent voter intimidation here.