VOTER INTIMIDATION IN NEW MEXICO?

I've spent the morning on the phone with Guadeloupe Bojorquez, a paralegal in New Mexico who says that her mother recieved a visit from a private detective hired by Pat Rogers, a lawyer connected to the local Republican Party. As Zachary Roth at TPM noted, Rogers was among a group of local Republicans who claimed that they had found incontrovertible proof that 28 voters had voted fraudulently in a June Primary.

Bojorquez' mother, Dora Escobedo, was on that list. But the Republicans backed off somewhat after ACORN contacted several of the voters to prove that they did, in fact, exist. Bojorquez says that her mother was spooked by a letter from ACORN that she received on Monday letting her know that local Republicans had hired a private investigator to determine the eligibility of voters on the list, because she didn't understand what she had done wrong.

On Wednesday, a man named Al Romero showed up at Escobedo's house, demanding to see, among other things, proof of voter registration and citizenship. Escobedo, who is Mexican-American, became a citizen last Spring. "He showed up with a copy of her voter registration card he was pointing to the paper and telling her he was an investigator, and told her to let him in. He said he just wanted to make sure he was a legitimate voter," says Bojorquez. Escobedo did not let him in, but Romero remained at the door.

Escobedo called her daughter, and later passed the phone to Romero, who remained outside. When Bojorquez asked who Romero worked for, he demurred at first. "He told me his name, and he told me that he was a private investigator, I asked him who he was working for but he would just change the conversation to something else about the voter," Bojorquez says.

Eventually Romero said he was working for Pat Rogers, the attorney who was among the Republicans who claimed they had proof of voter fraud. The New Mexico Independent further reports that Romero appears to be a licensed private investigator.

Bojorquez told me that she reported the incident to the county clerk's office. When I called Wendy Weiser at The Brennan Center for Justice, she suggested that Romero's actions might be a violation of the Voting Rights Act. “I do believe this, if it's true, could violate the anti-intimidation provisions in the Voting Rights Act,” Weiser says.

Bojorquez says her mother was really shaken up by the incident.

“About an hour later I left work and went over to her house and she was still crying. She couldn’t understand why she worked so hard to become a citizen to be able to vote, and then she was going through all of this.”

--A. Serwer

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