New Mexico Fraud

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Good news! Vote tallies will be monitored in NM -Cope 15:44, 1 Nov 2004 (PST)

SANTA FE -- The state's three major political parties will be allowed to monitor the secretary of state's office as it checks post-election vote tallies from counties in preparation for the official state canvass.

Fraudulent Registration to Disenfranchise Voter

On October 20, the Santa Fe Free New Mexican reported at least one case of a voter whose was fraudulently registered as a Republican in the wrong county.

The 2004 elections were supposed to be over for Felipe Roibal. The 60-year-old retired postal worker is among thousands of New Mexicans who requested, received, filled out and submitted an absentee ballot weeks before a record-sized crush of voters is expected to fill polling places Nov. 2.

Then came a phone call.

The Rio Arriba County clerk's office in Tierra Amarilla contacted Roibal last Thursday, days after he had sent his ballot to Santa Fe County, inquiring about a voter-registration card that had apparently been filled out with his name a month earlier.

At first, he thought it might have been a mistake. Later, he was convinced someone had tried to forge a registration form in his name.

Roibal, who maintains homes in both Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, where he is registered to vote, chose to find out what was behind the mysterious registration card he said he never filled out.

"Like many other people, we saw what happened in Florida with the hanging chads and all that," Roibal said. "I would just like a fair election."

While officials call it an isolated case, Roibal's story could reflect problems that have sprouted up elsewhere in New Mexico and states such as Colorado, where officials suspect widespread voter-registration fraud.

A copy of the form provided to Roibal by the Rio Arriba County clerk's office in Española appeared to shed some light on what transpired. Apparently, someone was trying to change where he was registered and his political party: From Santa Fe County to Rio Arriba County and from the Democratic Party to Republican, using an address he alleged came from the phone book.

"You feel a sense of violation, that someone was using your name to do something wrong," Roibal said.

Rio Arriba County Clerk Fred Vigil said Roibal's case was the first of its kind his office had come across this year. Vigil said each of the 24,000 voter registration cards his office has received were inspected line by line.

"Under my tenure, this has been a big concern of mine," Vigil said. "We don't want to disenfranchise anyone."

Roibal's name was not added to Rio Arriba County's voter rolls, because workers caught the irregularity, Vigil said.

In Roibal's case, an incomplete address line presented a red flag to county workers. But upon examining the form, it became apparent that wasn't the only problem.

Roibal's last name was incorrectly spelled on the affidavit, "R-o-j-b-a-l." As for the address, it appeared to be pulled straight from the phone book or perhaps from the Internet. In one of the two lines on the form, the address was listed as 285 Hwy 84, Española -- a reference to U.S. 84/285, which runs through Española. Roibal's Rio Arriba County home, however, is on a private road in El Duende.

The suspicious form in Roibal's case was sent from Bernalillo County to the Rio Arriba County clerk for processing, Vigil said. But further tracing the affidavit back becomes problematic. A unique seven-digit number printed on each form is not used for tracking the history of a particular form. Instead, it is used to identify a voter when they refuse to divulge their Social Security number, Vigil said.

According to Denise Lamb, the director of the New Mexico Bureau of Elections, the dramatic increases in voter registrations, which have topped more than 1 million this year for the first time, have not been accompanied by an increase in reports of registration fraud.

Vote Count Mess predicted in Bernalillo country

Cross ref Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrara

Phantom Votes Continue

Some Voters Say Machines Failed, Incorrect Choices Appear on Screens

When they have tried to vote for a particular candidate, the touch-screen system has said they voted for somebody else.

-Cope 09:34, 22 Oct 2004 (PDT) Albuquerque CBS affiliate, KRQE TV, Channel 13, reported earlier this week on "phantom votes" appearing in touch-screen voting machine tabulations here in Bernalillo County, contrary to actual votes cast. [Video2=ID&ID%5BVideo2%5D=1039 Video]

When asked, state and county elections officials conceded they have known about this problem for a year, but admitted they "don't know" what is causing it. The same officials said that all "phantom votes" would be "filtered out" of the final tallies. There was no word on which way these votes were going, how they are recognized, or how they will be properly "filtered out" of the final tabulations.

Additionally, KRQE TV reported last night about touch-screen balloting machines misrepresenting voters choices when casting their votes for a Presidential candidate. There were several complaints here in Bernalillo County of touch screen selections for "John kerry" producing a "green check mark" next to the name of "George Bush." A Sandoval County resident reported that when he selected "George Bush" for President, his on-screen selection appeared as a vote for "John Kerry." Apparently, persistent clearing and re-entering of the vote did at least create the on-screen appearance that the machines correctly recognized these voters choices. An Albuquerque City Councilman was among those complaining of the mysteriously misplaced "green check marks." Asked to comment, election officials asserted the likely cause of these anomolies was "voter error."

10/22/04

Orwell would be proud...voter error! as compared to "Bad Design" or "Incompetent User Testing" -Cope 09:34, 22 Oct 2004 (PDT)

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External links

  • Related story published in the Albuquerque Journal

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