MALDEF Files Lawsuit Against Intimidation Campaign Aimed At Latino Voters In New Mexico

October 27, 2008

Albuquerque, NM – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), filed a federal lawsuit to block threats and intimidation of eligible Latino voters in the days leading up to the November 4, 2008 General Election.

MALDEF represents two Latino voters, who are properly registered and qualified to vote but who have been targeted for a campaign of intimidation, including public accusations of voter fraud as well as harassment by a man claiming to be an investigator who appeared at their homes.

Dora Escobedo, the lead plaintiff in the case, is a newly naturalized U.S. citizen who voted proudly for the first time in the June 2008 federal primary election. Last week, a man came to her house, claimed he was investigating voter fraud, accused her of being a fraudulent voter and threatened to call federal immigration authorities. In addition, Ms. Escobedo’s personal information, including her address, phone number and birth date has been released to the public as evidence that her vote is invalid.

“The campaign of threats and intimidation against Latino voters in Albuquerque violates federal law and will not be tolerated,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel and lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “Racial harassment only serves to strengthen the resolve of our clients and other Latino voters,” continued Perales.

"MALDEF will not permit anyone to take the law into their own hands to keep properly registered Latino citizens from participating in this election," declared MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña.

MALDEF’s lawsuit is one of two cases filed today to block voter intimidation. The ACLU of New Mexico and Project Vote have also filed a separate lawsuit in state court on behalf of Latino voters who have experienced harassment based on their participating in voting.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund