A high-profile voter integrity group is joining a legal challenge in New Mexico to prevent the imposition of only mail-in voting for the state’s upcoming primary, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
True the Vote, which works to end fraud at the ballot box, announced on Thursday it would intervene in a New Mexico lawsuit brought by Democrat officials requesting a prohibition on in-person voting for the state’s June primary. The lawsuit, which is being referred to meditation by the New Mexico Supreme Court, was filed last month in tandem with the New Mexico Secretary of State amid fears that in-person voting would spread the Coronavirus.
Groups like True the Vote, however, believe the lawsuit not only circumvents the state’s constitution, but would also undermine the integrity of the upcoming primary. In particular, the group’s leadership argued that New Mexico already has a mechanism in place for determining the timing and manner of voting, which runs through the state legislature.
The lawsuit’s proponents, though, claim it would be too dangerous for the legislature to convene without potentially causing an outbreak of the pandemic, given the median age of state lawmakers. Similarly, proponents also contend that it would be illegal for the legislators to meet via teleconference, so the only possible recourse is through the courts.
James Bopp, who serves as the lead counsel for a group of New Mexico citizens opposing the lawsuit, said it constitutes nothing short of a power grab.
“There is no precedent for such an extraordinary legal action seeking to overturn laws passed by the legislature regulating voting in state elections and putting the courts in charge,” Bopp said in a press release announcing True the Vote’s decision to intervene.
The challenge comes as New Mexico and numerous other states weigh options to keep the electoral process going as health officials increase restrictions place stricter guidlines on congregating in public. Among the solutions most frequently proposed has been mail-in voting.
Under this proposal, every registered voter in the jurisdiction would be sent a ballot through the mail using their last-known address. Before returning the ballots, voters are only required to provide their name, address, and birth date to prove their identity.
Even though the process seems simple, True the Vote contests that it would in reality make it impossible to authenticate the integrity of who is casting a ballot. Unlike absentee voting— which is often mistaken for mail-in balloting—individuals would not be required to submit an application proving their identity or residency before sending back their ballots. It is also unclear if states considering mail-in would prohibit “ballot harvesting,” a process in which unverified third-parties are allowed to collect and deliver ballots for counting.
Catherine Engelbrecht, the president of True the Vote, told Breitbart News during an interview earlier this week that New Mexico was only the “tip of the spear” for a concerted national effort to supplant in-person voting with mail-in elections.
“The legal safeguards governing in-person and absentee voting would be dispensed with fully in New Mexico,” said Engelbrecht. Adding that the effort seem to mirror legal strategies national Democrats have taken since the 2016 election to strike down state and local voting provisions and expand mail-in balloting.
Most notably, the Democratic National Committee and its affiliated organizations have partnered with progressive Super PACs, including Priorities USA, to file legal challenges across the country. A majority of those challenges have dealt with blocking from cross-checking citizenship data with voter registrations, having state and congressional district boundaries thrown out because of gerrymandering, and expanding voter rolls.
Left unsaid, according to Engelbrecht, is that most of the legal challenges have been strategic, mainly centering on states likely to decide the next outcome of the 2020 presidential election, like New Mexico, or control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This is all orchestrated to create a very sophisticated level chaos that will benefit only one political party,” Engelbrecht said.