FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, October 27, 2008
CONTACT: Whitney Potter (505) 507-9898; firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBUQUERQUE—The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico today sued key members of the Republican Party for violating the privacy rights of New Mexico voters and illegally interfering with their right to vote. Filed in state district court, the class action suit alleges that NM Representative Justine Fox-Young and as yet unnamed members of the GOP illegally used private social security numbers to do background checks of legal voters and illegally disseminated confidential voter information to the press. The lawsuit also names private investigator Al Romero, hired by the GOP, for using voter registration information locate voters and question them about the legitimacy of their registrations.
“Today we are declaring ‘enough is enough,’” said ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson. “We are not going to stand by and watch the Republican Party break laws to interfere with New Mexicans’ private and constitutional right to participate in the upcoming election. Something had to be done immediately to confront these abuses, so we have taken action.”
In an October 16 press conference, Representative Fox-Young announced that members of the Republican Party used social security numbers from 92 voter registration forms, which they obtained from an as yet undetermined source, to run credit checks and driver’s license checks. They sent copies of the forms to the press, including 7 unredacted dates of birth.
According to New Mexico state law, “It is unlawful for the qualified elector’s date of birth or any portion of the qualified elector’s social security number required on the certificate of registration to be copied, conveyed, or used by anyone other than the person registering to vote, either before or after it is filed with the county clerk.” A person who violates this law is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
On October 22, the ACLU sent a letter to the NM Attorney General’s office calling for a criminal investigation into the matter. The office has assigned an investigator but no further information is available.
The mission of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is to maintain and advance the cause of civil liberties within the state of New Mexico, with particular emphasis on the freedom of religion, speech, press, association, and assemblage, and the right to vote, due process of law and equal protection of law, and to take any legitimate action in the furtherance and defense of such purposes. These objectives shall be sought wholly without political partisanship.