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Toulouse Oliver tells MSNBC she won’t go along with voter fraud ‘witch hunt’

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver repeated her vow during a nationally televised interview on MSNBC on Monday not to turn New Mexico voter rolls over to President Donald Trump’s administration unless subpoenaed, saying she feared a “witch hunt” in search of widespread voter fraud that does not exist.

Toulouse Oliver told MSNBC’s Katie Tur that Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which sent letters to all 50 secretaries of state last week asking for names, birth dates and other information on voter registration rolls dating back to 2006, was acting inappropriately.

“In New Mexico, we have certain laws on the books that protect voters’ private identifier information, such as their Social Security number and their birth date,” Toulouse Oliver said. “I would have to be issued some sort of subpoena or something like that to hand that data over.”

Asked what she thought the data would be used for, Toulouse Oliver did not mince words.

“I think it’s essentially a Trojan horse that’s going to be used to advance voter suppression around this country,” she said.

Over the weekend, Trump asked via Twitter, “What are they trying to hide?” The tweet was a reference to more than two dozen election officials around the country, including New Mexico’s, who have refused the request for data.

“We have absolutely nothing to hide,” Toulouse Oliver said. “I don’t want to participate in a witch hunt, which is going to further cast aspersions on the election process in this country.”

RUNNING: Tony Martinez, a Las Cruces veteran and activist, is seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat, currently held by Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican.

Martinez, co-founder of a local Indivisible activist group, officially launched his campaign in San Miguel, N.M., on Saturday. Martinez, 58, grew up in San Miguel and Mesquite, neighboring villages strung along N.M. 28, an old trade route forged in the early 1600s.

Martinez said his discussions with residents frustrated with the Trump administration and Pearce’s representation prompted his decision to run.

“They felt the deck was stacked against them and thought Washington no longer worked for them,” the first-time political candidate said.

Three other Democrats have said they intend to run for the seat in 2018: David Baake and Ronald Fitzherbert of Las Cruces, and Mad Hildebrandt of Socorro.

Michael Coleman: mcoleman@abqjournal.com

 

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