My efforts to obtain the evidence behind Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s claim that she has found instances of foreign nationals illegally voting have been shot down again, this time by the Taxation and Revenue Department.
Two months ago I asserted that Secretary of State Dianna Duran failed the open government test because she put a number of hurdles – some of them illegal – in front of my efforts to obtain the “evidence” she claims to have found of foreign nationals illegally voting in elections.
Since then, I tried a backdoor route to obtain some of the information, filing a public records request with the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) for e-mail correspondence between its Motor Vehicle Division and Duran’s office, and all documents attached to those e-mails.
The attachments are at the heart of Duran’s claim. Using those spreadsheets and other documents from TRD, she says she compared voter registration forms with MVD’s foreign national database to come up with her assertion that at least 117 foreign nationals had registered to vote and that 37 of them had voted in New Mexico elections.
The good news? The administration of Gov. Susana Martinez, through TRD, rejected Duran’s claim that executive privilege allowed her to withhold some information I and others requested.
The bad news? Tax and Revenue found its own justification for refusing to release information. And it’s a justification the N.M. Foundation for Open Government says is questionable.