Lopategui v. Vigil-Giron
In January 2005, a group of New Mexico voters filed a lawsuit in New Mexico state court seeking to halt the continued use of electronic voting machines in elections in the state on the grounds that it violated the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to vote. The lawsuit, which named the New Mexico Secretary of State as a defendant, followed evidence emerging from the 2004 presidential recount in New Mexico that revealed the unreliability of DRE voting systems for the proper counting and recording of votes.
Status of CaseIn January 2006, New Mexico District Court Judge Eugenio Mathis denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case and ruled that the case could move forward to trial. The plaintiffs then negotiated a temporary settlement and worked with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to propose an overhaul to the state’s voting systems. In February 2006, Governor Richardson introduced legislation to make New Mexico an all optically-scanned paper ballot state, thereby effectively banning the use of DRE voting systems. The New Mexico legislature subsequently adopted the proposed legislation, and election results from November 2006 showed that New Mexico’s undervote rate had dramatically decreased.
John W. Boyd of Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander & Goldberg P.A., David P. Garcia of Montoya, Murphy & Garcia, and Lowell Finley of Law Offices of Lowell Finley served as counsel for the plaintiffs in this case. The lawsuit was filed with the support of Voter Action.