A federal judge in New Mexico has handed President Donald Trump and his conservative allies a win in their campaign to rebuild the integrity of America’s elections.
The judge ruled that New Mexico Democrats may not prosecute a conservative group for publishing voter registration information online, the AP reported.
Judge hands Trump election integrity win
The top official overseeing elections in the state, Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, had referred Voter Reference Foundation to the state’s attorney general after the group shared voters’ information on its website, VoteRef.com.
Albuquerque-based U.S. District Court Judge James Browning granted a preliminary injunction to Voter Reference Foundation, finding they are likely to prevail in their argument that Toulouse Oliver illegally violated free speech.
Organizations are free to publish voter information, Browning said, calling New Mexico officials’ actions an “unconstitutional prior restraint on protected speech.”
VoteRef.com has added New Mexico voter information to the website in light of the decision.
Republican Doug Truax, a backer of VoteRef.com, said that the group “won’t be intimidated by politicians who, for some reason, don’t want to give the people of their state easy access to election records they pay for.”
What are Dems afraid of?
Democrats in New Mexico insist that the VoteRef.com project is an attack on voters’ privacy that will discourage voting, echoing questionable claims Democrats have made about voter ID restrictions.
“The fear now is that voters will be less likely to participate in our elections because their voting information — name, residential address, party affiliation, voting history, and year of birth -– will be made easily available online for anyone to obtain and potentially manipulate,” Toulouse Oliver spokesman Alex Curtas said.
Although the 2020 election debacle was almost two years ago, a bitter dispute over the contest’s legitimacy and voting procedures has continued.
Trump has continued to maintain that the election was rigged, but Democrats have insisted it was free and fair. President Biden was carried to victory after a historic profusion of mail-in ballots erased Trump’s Election Night lead.
Democrats have agitated to make the kind of relaxed voting policies of the 2020 election the new standard, while denouncing Republican efforts in the other direction as a racist conspiracy to bring back the Jim Crow era.