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New Mexico GOP Attorney's 'Voter Fraud' Claims Unravels

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Also published at my web magazine, The Public Record. 

Last week, the New Mexico Republican Party publicly wrongfully claimed that 28 people cast fraudulent votes in the June Democratic primary in House District 13.

State Republican Party officials said a review of 92 newly registered voters in the district turned up 28 ballots that had inaccurate social security numbers and wrong birth dates. In other words, GOP officials said, this was a clear case of voter fraud.

At the center of these allegations is New Mexico attorney Pat Rogers.

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Rogers said the suspect ballots from the Albuquerque House District race in June were turned over to the state attorney general's office and the Bernalillo County district attorney.

According to an Associated Press report, FBI agents had met with Bernalillo County clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver "after she notified authorities about an estimated 1,500 possibly fraudulent voter registration cards."

Two years ago, Rogers sought the FBI’s intervention in what he believed was widespread voter fraud in Bernalillo County and “vote count/tally manipulation” that benefited his client, U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson. At the time, Rogers was legal counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party and to Wilson in her tough reelection campaign against Democrat Patricia Madrid.

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Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections.

However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states.

About a week after the 2006 midterm elections, Rogers sent Rumaldo Armijo, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Mexico in charge of election issues, an urgent email, claiming he received an anonymous telephone call at his law office from a male “with a slight Hispanic accent” who said he was a Bernalillo County election worker “and during the counting process this week, had “added some votes for Heather.”

At the time Rogers sent his email to Armijo—Nov. 11, 2006—not all of the ballots had been counted and the race between Wilson and Madrid was still undecided.

“He did not want to provide any information by phone, and asked that we meet,” Rogers said in the e-mail obtained by The Public Record. “I told him I was headed to the Bernalillo Cty warehouse and could talk to him there. He said that he had not gone into “work” today, because he was so worried about what he had done.” I asked for his name and details and he said he would “go into work” and meet me at the county warehouse. I did not recognize the caller’s voice, and he provided no other details. He had a slight Hispanic accent, and he was nervous.

“After he hung up, I called our IT dept and was told we cannot trace calls/numbers. No one approached me at the Bernalillo County warehouse either yesterday afternoon or this morning. I am available to assist in any fashion. I am available by phone... or to meet in person immediately. I am uncertain of what other steps would be advisable, to make sure that all laws have been observed in the voting process. If I should notify other law enforcement officials or anyone else, let me know, immediately. I will attempt to reach you today, through the FBI line. “

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Rogers spoke with Armijo. Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, Armijo’s boss, said in an interview that Armijo forwarded [Rogers’ e-mail] to the FBI for action.”

Two days after his first email to Armijo, Rogers sent him another note.

“I did not hear from any FBI agent, and would again urge the immediate investigation of the allegation,” Rogers wrote in a Nov. 13, 2006 email. “I am available at and would request you forward the e-mail to the FBI agents and any additional appropriate offices or individuals.”

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 

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