Thursday, November 25, 2004
50 States Mislead Their Voters Part 31
As I mentioned in my last post, I'm skipping ahead in my alphabetical state-by-state survey to focus on New Mexico. This is the first part of Part 31 (sorry, but there's a ton of articles about this battleground state that I still have to pore through).
In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won New Mexico by just 366 votes; it took nearly a month for New Mexico to finish counting the votes. In 2004, the wait wasn't quite as long; yesterday the state's official tally showed Bush beating Senator John Kerry by 5,988 votes. The delays are largely due to the large number of provisional ballots cast, and the manner in which they were counted (or not).
The unofficial (until they are audited) general election results listed on the Secretary of State's website (Sos.New Mexico) show that 776,010 people voted in the election. Bush received 376,958 votes; Kerry got 370,930; and the third party candidates (Cobb, Peroutka, Badnarik and Nader received a total of 8416 votes. What happened to the other 20,000 votes?
Out of 12,000 provisional and in-lieu-of paper ballots cast in Bernalillo County, nearly half were rejected; most because the prospective voter wasn't registered to vote anywhere in the county, but hundreds of provisional ballots were rejected due to minor discrepancies: "A Democratic attorney and an election volunteer for the party said workers disqualified hundreds of provisional ballots cast in Bernalillo County because of names that had a missing middle initial or some other minor discrepancy. They urged commissioners to reconsider the rejection of those ballots, if they could. The commissioners, however, said they didn't have authority to question the qualification of provisional ballots. They voted 3-0 in favor of certifying the Nov. 2 election results, which were sent to the Secretary of State's Office." (ABQjournal.com).
Bernalillo Country Clerk Mary Herrera claimed that in one batch of provisional ballots all of the disqualified ballots were Democrat and those that qualified were Republican. "The main reason for disqualifying them, she said, was because an affidavit testifying to the voter's identity, which is supposed to be signed by a presiding judge, was not in the outer of two envelopes that are supposed to be turned in to election workers. That rule was prescribed by New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron." (ABQtrib.com).
Two months before the election, Republican U.S. Attorney David Iglesias formed a task force — involving the criminal division of the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and the secretary of state's office — to investigate and prosecute suspected cases of election fraud (ABQpubco.com). "The New Mexico probe was launched in part at the request of Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who chairs the county's Bush-Cheney campaign." (Washington Post.com). "When they brought me on, it was plain and simple: They said, `We need to win Bernalillo County,'" said Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who is helping coordinate Bush's campaign here. (ABQtrib.com). In April 2004, Sheriff White was added to the National Bush-Cheney '04 First Responders Leadership Team. "The Bush-Cheney '04 National First Responders Leadership Team will help build a nationwide network of grassroots support for the President and help communicate his commitment to homeland security and his record of achievement for America's first responders." (ForRelease.com).
Sheriff White also attended the 2004 Republican National Convention as a GOP delegate. While in New York City, the delegates took in a Broadway show and a tour of the Fox News studios (FreeNewMexican.com). Sheriff White also received the honor of being one of the 10 delegates selected to officially inform President Bush of his selection as the official Republican nominee for President. (FreeNewMexican.com).