When New Mexicans read that Secretary of State Dianna Duran had turned over 64,000 cases to Public Safety Director Gordon Eden to investigate for fraud, people cheered.
I have been asked numerous times since the news of the investigation broke, “Who are the people criticizing this?”
The critic I am most familiar with is Daniel Ivey-Soto. Ivey-Soto is a paid lobbyist for the New Mexico Association of County Clerks Affiliate.
Ivey Soto has been quoted saying, “Why not ask the county clerks who are responsible for the integrity of elections for their help?”
The answer is simple. When it comes to investigations, all entities should be excused from investigating themselves. Also, if the county clerks had the manpower to uncover problems they would have done it.
I know about Ivey-Soto’s stands because of his testimonies before the House Voters and Elections Committee. In 2009, Ivey-Soto told the committee that a bill sponsored by Rep. Dianne Hamilton requiring a photo ID to vote was problematic because it included absentee voting. He said it was an overhaul of our election system, and needed study.
In 2011, Ivey-Soto told the same committee that a bill sponsored by Hamilton was problematic because it did not include absentee voters, which equated discrimination. Absentee voters cannot be treated differently from those who vote in person. But they already are. Some obvious differences:
n Absentee voters can vote earlier than anyone else.
n Absentee voters must pay postage.
n Absentee voters can vote at midnight in the nude.
You get the idea.
Ivey-Soto is a fan of a law that would allow people to register and vote on the same day during early voting. No photo ID required. He has asserted requiring citizens to produce a utility bill or bank statement is enough to safeguard our process against fraud. This is inane.
Anyone can design a bill on a computer. Special interest groups could print out stacks of counterfeit statements, and their people would have nearly a month to cast fraudulent ballots before an election.
Hit-and-run voting, with no way to detect it.
Such bills have been introduced in the past and labeled “election reform.” New Mexicans are not stupid. Still, I’m sure during the next session we will see more of these smoke-and-mirror tricks.
When it has been pointed out to Ivey-Soto that the opportunity for fraud would be profound under such a system, he has asserted that there is no solid evidence of fraud and this would make voting much easier for our citizens.
Now I believe voting should not be arduous, but surely there should be more to participating in our democracy than rolling out of bed, belching and casting a ballot.
Additionally, Ivey-Soto’s current stand that there is no fraud contradicts a statement he made when he was the New Mexico elections director in 2007. He was asked at a meeting of the state’s county clerks how same-day registration would not enable voter fraud. The Albuquerque Tribune printed his response: “I can’t. But I can’t guarantee there isn’t fraud going on now. … I know people who have gone on Election Day and voted multiple times because they knew people who weren’t going to vote. I’ve never participated in that, but I know people who have.”
And with this knowledge he continues to support more lax election laws?
Three bills were introduced this year for a photo ID requirement to vote. Free IDs would be given to citizens who don’t have one. American Indians could provide a tribal identification card in lieu of a photo ID.
Ivey-Soto, on behalf of the New Mexico County Clerks Affiliate, opposed them all.
I stand with Dianna Duran and Gordon Eden. Whatever they find, I’m sure many will criticize the results of their investigation.
However, we, the people, want the truth.