August 24, 2004
Teen's Dad Joins Voter Registration Lawsuit
By Heather Clark
The Associated Press
An Albuquerque man whose 13-year-old son was registered to vote is joining a lawsuit that challenges which voters have to show identification upon registering.
The lawsuit filed Friday in state district court against Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and Bernalillo County clerk Mary Herrera contends first-time voters must show identification when they register.
Glen Stout said his son, Kevin, told him he never signed a voter registration form mailed to their house. Stout, a registered Republican, also received a registration form for the boy's 15-year-old neighbor.
"I fear that someone would have voted in their names had the fraud not been discovered by us, and every fraudulent vote cancels out the vote of an honest New Mexican," he said.
Stout appeared outside the Albuquerque offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, with Rep. Joe Thompson, R-Albuquerque.
Thompson, one of three attorneys filing the lawsuit, accused ACORN of "manufacturing voters."
ACORN spokesman Matthew Henderson disputed Thompson's charge that the organization was turning in fraudulent voter registration cards.
"That's outrageous, and it's based on flimsy evidence," Henderson said.
ACORN, which pays workers an hourly wage to register voters, has registered 25,000 New Mexicans from both political parties, he said.
Henderson said ACORN fired Christina Gonzales, whose name appears on the bottom of Kevin Stout's voter registration, in May or early June because she allegedly claimed other workers' voter registration cards were obtained by her.
Thompson said he wants organizations registering voters to follow the law.
"We want everyone who's eligible to vote to vote," he said. "... Just play fair."
Thompson and Stout also said they were concerned about how voter registration organizations got the teenagers' names and one of their addresses.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction requiring Vigil-Giron and Herrera to stop "efforts to negate" a section of state law dealing with identification for first-time voter registrations.
Vigil-Giron has said the requirement, approved last year, applies only to mail-in registrations and talks about a postpaid mail-in format.
The five initial plaintiffs include a Green Party candidate, a Democrat, a Republican and two others.
Henderson said he believes requiring identification at the polls would discourage people from voting if they arrive without identification.