State of New Mexico

New Mexico Voter Records Publication Challenge

Voter Reference Foundation v. Balderas

Lawsuit brought by the conservative group Voter Reference Foundation and a New Mexico resident challenging New Mexico’s ability to criminally prosecute the group for violating New Mexico statutes that protect voter data. The Voter Reference Foundation publishes voter data online that includes voters’ names, street addresses and information about which elections in which they participated. In March 2022, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) referred the group to the New Mexico attorney general for possible prosecution for violating New Mexico statutes that govern how voter data can be used. In response, the Voter Reference Foundation and a resident who supports the organization’s work filed this lawsuit alleging that the possible criminal prosecution of the group violates its right to free speech in violation of the First and 14th Amendments. The plaintiffs also allege that the secretary of state’s enforcement of these allegedly vague and arbitrary statutes violates the First and Fifth Amendments.

On July 22, a federal judge granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, noting that the court disagrees with the secretary of state’s interpretation that New Mexico’s election code does not prohibit the organization’s use and publication of voter data. On Aug. 19, the defendants appealed the preliminary injunction decision. On Dec. 28, the court stayed (meaning paused) the preliminary injunction decision. Litigation is ongoing.

STATUS: On March 29, 2024, the judge granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, ruling that the plaintiffs were legally entitled to access voter registration data under federal law. The plaintiffs’ constitutional claims will proceed to a trial.

Case Documents (district court)

Case Documents (10th circuit)

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