VRF sues New Mexico officials in federal court to make sure public has right to see voter rolls
Mar 30, 2022
by Voter Reference Foundation
DOWNERS GROVE, IL -- The groundbreaking Voter Reference Foundation (VRF), which has ushered in a new era of American election transparency at VoteRef.com, filed a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court against top Democrat officials in New Mexico to ensure the public’s right to view public voter rolls is not blocked.
The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, names Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas as defendants and asks the court to immediately declare that VRF has the right to show the public the voter rolls they pay for with their tax dollars.
In the complaint, VRF alleges that Secretary of State Oliver has made public statements that falsely characterize VRF’s publication of the voter rolls as illegal. Also, the lawsuit alleges Oliver has a history of bias when dealing with public records requested by those she doesn’t agree with politically.
“The taxpayers of New Mexico pay for election administration, and they have an absolute right to view the records that are produced,” said Doug Truax, Founder and President of Restoration Action, which created VRF. “Confidence in American elections is at a low ebb and one reason is a lack of transparency.”
VRF, at VoteRef.com, has broken new ground in America with the publication of the voter registration lists, known as voter rolls. Since it began in 2021, the VRF has published the voter rolls in 22 states and the District of Columbia, representing about half the population of the United States. The site gives citizens the ability to view who is eligible to vote, when they voted, and other basic election data. Popular tech and economic writer Jeffrey Carter characterized the effort as a “killer election reform,’’allowing the public to “crowd source” the lists to make them more accurate.
VoteRef.com published the New Mexico list in December 2021. Subsequently, on liberal websites, Oliver declared the publication was illegal and stated she has referred the matter to Democrat Attorney General Balderas. The VRF lawsuit also noted Oliver on another occasion, in 2017, refused to release publicly available voting records when requested by a presidential election integrity commission controlled by an opposing political party.
The lawsuit states that New Mexico law governing election transparency violates the First and Fifth Amendments. It asks for a declaratory judgment that VRF can continue providing the voter rolls to the public. It also asks for a preliminary and permanent injunction.
In the meantime, VRF will take its New Mexico data off the VoteRef.com website pending the legal action.
“We are not going to be deterred by partisan election officials who believe the election records taxpayers pay for are their personal possessions. The public has a right to see them and if they try to block us, we will assert that right in court,” Truax added.
Several states have statutes that ban publication of voter rolls. Truax said court battles in those states is likely.
VoteRef.com is a permanent reference source operated by VRF. Those who access the website can search by name or address for registered voters. They also will be able to examine voter histories -- a list of elections that voters participated in, as well as other important election data obtained via official sources.
The VRF was created by Restoration Action, an educational 501c4 organization founded by West Point graduate and successful entrepreneur Doug Truax. A former U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois, Truax is deeply interested in election integrity, as expressed in this 2021 op-ed in American Greatness and 2022 follow-up op-ed in Real Clear Politics