NM Voter Roll Purge? Unfounded rumor!

( – promoted by navajo)

I’ve got some good news, so check it out:

I’ve heard it said, and seen it written:  The voter rolls in New Mexico were purged, and it’s gonna sabotage the election.  The implication is that something nefarious has happened.  I decided to test it out.  With a mini-audit on one precinct that I know well.  I worked it in 2004 in detail, and still have the files.

I went through Taos County, Precinct 13 (Taos Pueblo Reservation) – comparing the voter rolls from Election Day 2004 with today.  My conclusion?  Nothing to worry about.  Unless something is very different in another part of the state, that is.  

Since there are persistent rumors and speculation on this, I thought it would be worth sharing what I found out.  And explain how others can check their own voter rolls for purges, too – in time to repair any damage found with targeted voter registration efforts.

I worked the precinct rolls in detail in 2004, including address corrections from a mailout, looking up phone numbers in the phone book, registering voters and being the Kerry campaign vote tracker on Election Day.  And more.  I noticed some irregularities – a discrepancy between undervotes for early voting and on Election Day.  This was interesting because early voting was with a paper trail, and election day machines did not have a paper trail.  Those discrepancies found their way a Greg Palast book, as it happens.  (He made some errors with the numbers, but got the story right about undervotes.)

I’ve also worked 2006 and 2008 as an official poll worker, and seen nothing but scrupulous behavior on everyone’s party.

OK, here’s the numbers.  First, total voters in the precinct:

Nov 2004 – 616

Jul 2008 – 655

101 new voters have been added to the rolls since 2004, and 62 are gone.  About 10% of the 2004 voters are no longer on the rolls in this precinct.  Here’s what I found in examining those 62 names:

  • 9 were either known by me to be deceased or over 70 in 2004.  (One was 93.)
  • 17 I located in other precincts in the state.
  • 3 were duplicates – same name, birthday, address, phone etc.
  • 2 were obviously irregular for reasons it’s not worth taking the effort to explain
  • 31 (half) weren’t found in the state, with various searches on VoteBuilder.

It’s worth noting that 12 of the missing were male, and 19 female, so I’m guessing that the excess female name changes had to do with changes in marital status.  And in Indian country?  A few more of those might be name changes:  I know people who switched from Suazo to Aspenwind, and from Espinosa to Lightning Bow for last names.  It’s quite possible I could have missed a few others.  And, of the 600+ people in the precinct, maybe one or two, even three, went to prison, and some went out of state for college or work or marriage or military service.

31 is about 5% of the voters to explain by name changes, leaving the state, dying, or going to prison.  That does not seem unreasonable to me.  People were all wound up about their names not appearing on the rolls for the Presidential caucus vote on Super Tuesday.  One explanation was that some voters forgot to indicate a party affiliation on their voter registration application.  I see no evidence of anything untoward happening to the voter rolls.

New Voters

Here’s the good news.  I looked at the new voters since 2004 – there being 101 of them all told.  And get this!  Not a single one of the new voters is a Republican – not one!  (DTS = “decline to state”, and means the voter left the party affiliation blank on the registration form; I means they wrote “independent”)


Mind you, this is a very Democratic precinct – it voted about 93% for Kerry in 2004.  But there’s more voters now.  And the machines that recorded 1 in 7 voters as making no choice for President are gone.  The machines that showed 100% of voters making a selection for President are now the only ones in use.  In a state where the margin in the Presidential race was 366 in 2000, and less than 6,000 in 2004, this matters.  There’s 1500 precincts in the state.  This one precinct is in line to deliver a net gain of maybe 75 votes to the Dems this time.  Possibly as many as 100 (or more), because there’s still a couple months of voter registration to go.

And so the campaign season gears up.  We’re seeing all the problems in the Obama campaign to be expected with a rapidly growing organization.  We’re on our third field organizer in a month for example.  But we’ve got much more sophisticated voter records and GOTV efforts than in 2004, too, thanks to some good efforts on the part of the county party in the 2006 midterms.

That’s good news from one little precinct in New Mexico.  Down with Tyranny is reporting something similar in summary for the state of California:

Between January 22 and May 19, over 400,000 new voters registered in California. 75% of them registered as Democrats. The news gets much worse for Republicans; almost all the rest registered as independents (Decline-to-State). The GOP picked up less than 1,500 of those new voters (3.6%). Nor was this all happening in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The fastest growing area of the state, the heavily Republican Inland Empire is trending away from Republicans as well. Riverside County is growing faster than any other part of the state but the GOP has lost close to 34,000 there since the last presidential election.

(Note for those of you who do the math:  I’m thinking 1,500 was a typo which should be 15,000.  Otherwise, way less than 1% of the new voters were Republicans.  Not looking good for them, either way.)

California’s not contested or anything this fall.  But it still seems like good news to me!!!

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

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