A federal judge in New Mexico has given the OK on a conservative initiative to partially publish voter records nationwide.
U.S. District Court Judge James Browning issued an order on Friday that stopped prosecutors in New Mexico from pursuing charges of election code violations against the people who created VoteRef.com, The Associated Press reported.
The VoteRef.com website provides searchable access to voter registration records by name and street addresses, often indicating when people voted in past elections. The online records do not say for which candidates the people voted or how they voted on initiatives. Party affiliation is listed for voters in some states but not all.
The Voter Reference Foundation that created the website advocates for voting accountability by making voter information more accessible to the public. The group said that it would start posting the voting information of New Mexico voters online starting on Thursday.
The decision does not apply to those voters who are part of New Mexico’s program protecting the addresses of victims of domestic violence and stalking.
The judge’s order blocks the prosecution of the creators of the website because, the judge said, New Mexico state law “does not prohibit Voter Reference — or any organization — from posting voter data online.”
The creators of the website are “substantially likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary of State’s referral of Voter Reference to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution and her public statements about the referral is an unconstitutional prior restraint on protected speech,” the judge said.
Former GOP Senate candidate Doug Truax said that his 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.”
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