June 24, 2019

Group sending voter registration forms to increase NM voters


Edited. cc

One national progressive group is continuing their efforts to register more New Mexicans to vote.

And to do so, they’re sending thousands of voter registration forms to those who are eligible to vote, but have not yet registered.

The Voter Participation Center (VPC) has been involved in New Mexico since 2006, and announced last week that they will send voter registration forms to nearly 29,000 unregistered New Mexicans the group has determined are eligible to vote.

Page Gardner, the president and founder of the VPC, said that New Mexico is one of the group’s targets because of “crucial elections” including Senate and congressional races and the state’s demographics.

New Mexico is the state with the highest percentage of Latinx residents.

She said that the group has seen success in both the high amount of those who choose to register and, among those, who go on to cast votes.

“We’re very effective, we know we’re effective. We’re getting people registered to vote and those people vote,” she said.

In a press release, the group pointed to demographics with high rates of unregistered citizens. For example, Latinx residents are 40.2 percent of the total voting population in the state—but only 46.1 percent of Latinx residents in New Mexico are registered to vote. Only 49.4 percent of young voters, 18-38 year-olds, which includes Millennials and Gen Z potential voters, are registered to vote.

In the past, the group faced criticism in New Mexico.

In 2012, Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran sent a letter to the group saying the group’s mailing lists “appear to have significant flaws, to the detriment of many of the recipients, as well as the integrity of the voter file in New Mexico.”

Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins, a Democrat, also criticized the group.

Gardner said the group takes great pains to make sure their list is as accurate as possible. She said the VPC works with a vendor and starts with the voter file and compares against a commercial data set. From there, she said the group goes through 20 additional steps to make sure only eligible voters are targeted.

“It’s clean so that the number of inaccuracies [is] really, really small,” she said.

Deputy Secretary of State John Blair said he knew the VPC did work in New Mexico in the past, but was not aware they were planning on more in the state.

“As long as they’re following state law, we support any effort to get eligible New Mexicans registered to vote,” Blair said.

The group isn’t just aiming at increasing voter registration in New Mexico. The group is mailing registration forms to unregistered residents in 13 other states, including Arizona, Colorado and Texas.