Republican Party Lawyer Intimidating Latino Voters in New Mexico

AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf

You've certainly heard about ACORN, but have you been keeping tabs on the voter suppression techniques that are being exploited to keep Latinos out of the booths? A perfect example of this can be found in New Mexico, a state that is approximately 40% Latino, giving it the honor of being the most "Latin" state of the union. Among those 1 million Latino residents, almost 70% will be supporting Barack Obama come Nov. 4th. This may be scaring some Republican operatives in the state who have launched a campaign of voter intimidation.

Minority voters in New Mexico have reported to TPMmuckraker that they've received personal visits at the homes of their family members from a private investigator working with Republican Party lawyer Pat Rogers, with the aim of intimidating and confusing them about their right to vote in the general election. The story originated last week, when Rogers, along with other Republican Party representatives announced that 28 people had voted fraudulently during the Democratic Primary in June in Bernalillo County, NM. The Republic Party officials were attempting to connect the voter fraud to ACORN, which has been under scrutiny lately for its registration of "fraudulent voters". McCain, along with many members of the GOP, have called this "voter fraud." During the final debate against Obama, McCain actually insisted that ACORN could be challenging "the very fabric of our democracy".

Real talk? Voter fraud can not be perpetrated unless these people who were fraudulently registered actually showed up to vote. Since the chances of Mickey Mouse or a dead person appearing to vote are very slim, so are the chances of voter fraud occurring. Also of note is the fact that ACORN as well as any organization participating in Get Out the Vote types of campaign are required by law to submit all of the registrations they acquire, even if they believe them to be fraudulent. For this very reason, ACORN employees are instructed to double check registrations and place them into 3 piles; legitimate, questionable and fraudulent before submitting them to each individual state's voting agencies.

Thankfully, Pat Rogers' attempt to stoke concerns about this issue were quickly disproved by ACORN, which announced that it had contacted the county clerk's office and verified that all of the voters were in fact legitimate. Unfortunately, that is not where the attempted deception ended. Dora Escobedo was one of the ten voters whose names were released by the GOP as a "fraudulent voter". With the help of her daughter and ACORN, she was able to confirm with the county clerk that she is indeed eligible to vote and had been when she voted in June.

Nonetheless, Escobedo received a visit from a mysterious man who asked to see her ID in reference to her eligibility to vote. At one point the man even asked what she would do if immigration authorities contacted her, in a clear attempt to intimidate her. The man told Escobedo that she shouldn't be voting, and continued to ask for personal information. When asked who he was employed by, the mystery man finally admitted to be a private investigator hired by Pat Rogers.

Once the GOP realized that they did not have a genuine case of voter fraud on their hands, they quickly moved on to other topics. Tell us: Have you had any crazy experiences trying to vote early or register? This seems to be happening most in key battleground states such as Colorado, Florida and New Mexico. Do you have any family or friends who have been intimidated or falsely told that they can not or should not vote?

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About this author1

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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