The New Mexico Republican Party has confirmed they sent a flyer ominously suggesting that residents’ presidential election votes could be tracked and made public.
The flyer, which was discovered in Albuquerque, read: “When the Democrats win the election and you didn’t do your part … your neighbors will know.” It garnered attention online when it was posted to Reddit:
Jake Moffitt, who posted the flyer on Facebook after his friend received it in the mail, said it did not steer him toward voting for the GOP, but rather just the opposite:
It sounded pretty damn sinister, honestly. He said there was a map on it with a bunch of question marks around local houses. I’m glad it’s getting some attention because holy shit.
A party spokesperson, W. Tucker Keene, confirmed to us that the flyer was sent across the state. When asked to explain its message, Keene replied, unhelpfully, “You’ll have to consult other news sources.”
The flyer was quickly condemned by the state Democratic Party:
The Republican Party of New Mexico’s attempt to use aggressive intimidation toward voters is just another example of what has become the Republican standard.
The New Mexico Secretary of State office told snopes.com via e-mail on 17 October 2016 that state statutes “do not provide specific regulation” regarding the content of campaign flyers. State Elections Director said in a separate message on 22 October 2016, “NM voters can be assured that the secrecy of the ballot is protected in our state.”
Federal election law holds that:
Whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, at any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing such candidate, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, which covers voter intimidation cases, has not responded to a request for comment regarding the flyer.