Key Election Evidence Destroyed
Help America Recount Fund
For immediate release: January 17, 2005
Key Election Evidence Destroyed
A civil lawsuit, filed on behalf of eight New Mexico residents Friday claims that the certified results of the 2004 New Mexico general election demonstrate that voting machines used in the election malfunctioned seriously enough to affect the outcome of election races, including the race for President.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in the state Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque by attorneys David Garcia of Santa Fe, John Boyd of Albuquerque and Lowell Finley of Help America Recount. All three attorneys are also representing Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green party presidential candidate David Cobb in a separate recount request, which is still being litigated in the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
Election officials are statutorily prohibited from clearing voting machines while a recount request or other election contest is pending. On January 12, Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron authorized county Election Directors to erase the voting machines used in November.
Patricia Rosas Lopategui, a plaintiff in the civil suit, said, "The government of New Mexico keeps blocking us from finding out what happened to our votes. First they put up roadblocks to stall the recount request and now they want to destroy evidence vital to a voting rights suit filed by New Mexico voters." "Why they want to use these same voting machines after so many problems have been shown with them is beyond me." said Aurora Sanchez of Santa Fe, also a plaintiff in the suit filed Friday.
The voters' suit requested a Temporary Restraining Order to secure voting machines and software in order to determine exactly how and why some machines failed to accurately record and count votes. On Saturday, the court denied the motion for a temporary restraining order. Counties have already begun clearing the voting machines.
Attorney Lowell Finley noted, Monday is the day the nation honors Martin Luther King. Jr., who fought for voting rights for all Americans. Forty-five years after his death, New Mexicans are still battling for the rights Dr. King championed.
The suit seeks to prove violations of the voting rights and civil rights of citizens under the New Mexico state constitution. Statistical evidence strongly suggests that electronic voting machines failed to record a significant number of lawful votes, particularly in precincts with Native American and Hispanic pluralities. More than 21,000 ballots statewide failed to record a vote in the presidential race. 77% of these ballots were cast on paperless voting machines. President Bush’s margin of victory in New Mexico was 6,000 votes, less than 1 % of the votes cast.
The Help America Recount Fund is a 527 organization affiliated with the Audit the Vote network and National Ballot Integrity Project, a consortium of national, state and local organizations committed to the transparency and integrity of our elections. The sole purpose of the Help America Recount Fund is to provide support for and citizen financing of presidential ballot recounts, election contests and lawsuits to audit the 2004 election. The Help America Recount Fund is a not-for-profit organization, and is not affiliated with any political party.