VRF to publish New Mexico voter rolls again after federal court victory for election transparency
Jul 25, 2022

by Voter Reference Foundation

DOWNERS GROVE, IL -- In a strong victory for election transparency, the groundbreaking Voter Reference Foundation (VRF) will post, once again, the voter rolls in New Mexico after a federal judge stopped state officials from blocking the publication.
Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), VRF will post the voter registration list again in New Mexico on its VoteRef.com website, where most of the country's voter rolls reside.
Citing the First Amendment, Federal Judge James O. Browning granted VRF's request for a preliminary injunction late last week, blocking Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas from improperly prosecuting VRF.
Oliver, a partisan liberal Democrat, referred VRF's publication of the rolls to Balderas for prosecution at the same time the liberal website Pro Publica was doing a partisan hit piece on VRF. Oliver also made public comments on social media falsely suggesting VRF was acting illegally.
After the threats, VRF filed a First Amendment lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.
"We won't be intimidated by politicians who, for some reason, don't want to give the people of their state easy access to election records they pay for," said Doug Truax, Founder and President of Restoration of America, which created and funds VRF. "We’re committed to publishing the voter rolls in all 50 states, so the public can scrutinize the most important function of their government -- running fair and accurate elections."
Judge Browning, in his ruling, enjoined Balderas and Oliver from prosecuting VRF for publishing data it already possesses and said Oliver was wrong to conclude that VRF was prohibited from publishing voter data.
"In conclusion, New Mexico's Election Code does not prohibit Voter Reference's publication of voter data online," the judge wrote in his opinion.
VRF first posted the New Mexico voter data online in December 2021 and then took it down in March after threats from Oliver that publication was illegal.
Since it began in 2021, the VRF has published voter rolls in 29 states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half the population of the nation. Such an effort has never been undertaken before in 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 national tech and economic writer Jeffrey Carter characterized the unprecedented effort as a “killer election reform,’’ allowing the public to “crowd source” the lists to make them more accurate.
Truax said to expect further lawsuits in other states where election transparency is blocked. Several states have statutes banning publication of taxpayer-funded voter data and others have erected procedural barriers to publication.
"We’re beginning to lift the veil on an opaque system that is riddled with inaccuracies," Truax continued. "We wouldn't accept a lack of transparency and accuracy in our banking or accounting records -- why accept it when it comes to elections? We will do what it takes going forward to bring election transparency to America."
The New Mexico case proceeds to the permanent injunction phase.