Progress Now New Mexico recorded a GOP training session conducted on September 26th. In it are a multitude of directions intended to suppress votes. New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce said he was aware of the training and says this is how the GOP will retake New Mexico.
ALBUQUERQUE - Undercover video recorded by ProgressNow New Mexico shows the Republican Party training poll challengers in illegal tactics that could potentially restrict the voting rights of as many as 1-in8 New Mexicans in November.
A recording of the September 26th official "Poll Challenger Training" conducted by the Republican Party shows a GOP & Tea Party leader giving false and/or misleading information about voting rights and regulations to the training's attendees. The training was replete with misinformation about ID requirements, the use of provisional ballots, assistance for Spanish-speaking citizens, change of address requirements, and the rights of the disabled at the polls.
The group even created it's own poll challenger guide complete with instructions on how to demand ID and force legal voters to vote by provisional ballot in blatant contradiction with election law.
The tactics disseminated at the Republican "Poll Challenger Training" have the potential to restrict the voting rights of New Mexicans throughout the state by making it harder for eligible voters to exercise their civic duty and by compromising the integrity of the entire state electoral process.
The GOP group created its own training manual specifically for "The Poll Challenger Training", replete with false instructions. Some of the problems in the Republican training manual (from which the trainer read word for word) include:
• the claim that people who have changed their addresses must show a physical ID (1) and their address must match:
• At the request of two or more precinct board members of different political parties, a voter shall still present the required physical form of identification."
• A false claim that, "The police are supposed to be the ones who ensure that the election is legit."
• The trainer did not know that the voter can give their birth year in the verbal ID at the polls
• The trainer said that a person who changed their address but stayed within their same voting precinct should receive a provisional ballot.
• The trainer claims that interpreters are not provided to non-English speakers and then is unsure if polling places will provide Spanish-language ballots. FACT: Assistance for people in language minorities is provided, as are Spanish-language ballots.
• The trainer mistakenly claims that people who have changed their addresses must show a physical ID and their address must match.
In reality, very few people will have to show ID. It will be noted on the voter roll if they must show physical ID. It does not have to be a picture ID or match the voter registration address. All other voters may give a verbal ID, or write it down if they prefer.
The article sums up the problem the erroneous training could cause:
Throughout the training the Republican Party representative shows an insensitivity to language minorities and disabled citizens and displays a concerning lack of knowledge regarding New Mexico's voting regulations - this lack of knowledge could have a harmful effect on Election Day when the people who attended these trainings begin trying to challenge votes at the polls. If the attendees of these trainings - and trainings likes these that have occurred or will occur - attempt to challenge votes because of what they learned, it could lead to many problems at the polls and has the potential to disenfranchise voters who have a legal, legitimate right to exercise their civic duty on Election Day.Lee Fang at The Nation interviewed Rep. Steve Pearce about the training, who insisted that poll workers had to request ID yet acknowledged doing so would be illegal.
“We’re simply saying that we’re going to start, we’re going to take it back it into our hands,” said Pearce. “We should check for ID since you have to show an ID to do anything in America.”
He did, however, admit that doing so would be against the law. “It’s against New Mexico law to check for ID,” the congressman conceded.
Wouldn’t having scores of Republican poll watchers requesting voter ID even though there’s no legal requirement for an ID cause confusion? “What do you think these poll watchers should do if someone refuses to show identification?” I asked.
“I just think we need to be asking the question,” replied Pearce. “I don’t think New Mexicans know how many people vote illegally.
I pressed him again. Wouldn’t it cause confusion with poll watchers telling people they need an ID to vote even though they don’t?
“It all comes down to judges and all that stuff—that’s sort of out of my area,” said Pearce.