As a high school teacher, I usually spend part of my summer traveling. To my surprise, when I returned to the Navajo Reservation, where I live and work, in early August of this year, I found an innocuous-looking, paper postcard in my held mail bundle. The postcard came from my local county clerk's office in Gallup, N.M. It was marked as Official Election Mail. Fortunately, I didn't toss it in the trashcan as junk mail. If I had, I would have gone to my local, voting center on Nov. 8th to find that I had been marked as an "inactive voter." Even though I have a voter's registration card from my district, and voted in previous elections, the card warned that if I didn't update my residential information and return the card by OCTOBER 11th, that my voter registration would be CANCELLED.
According to the postcard, official election-related mail had been returned from the address listed on my registration. I found this surprising since no one else seems to have difficulty getting mail to me at my current address. No one on the Reservation has home delivery. We all have P.O. Box addresses. Some roads on the Rez don't even have names; they are just dirt roads. The Election Office and the County Clerk of Gallup-McKinley County certainly have this information since the larger population of the county is Navajo and Zuni. I thought the postcard request strange, to say the least, but forgot about it while immersed in the beginning of a new school year mayhem.
The postcard resurfaced a few days while I was digging through stacks of papers and old mail. I took the time to really read the postcard, filled it out and popped it in the mail, but my feelings of unease remained. I am well aware of the crusade by Republicans to purge the voter rolls prior to the election in November, and am extremely suspicious of postcards, unverifiable comments and deadlines, especially since New Mexico has a rising Republican star in the party (Susanna Martinez,) a House controlled by Republicans, and an interim Republican Secretary of State-Brad Winters (R.) Our previous Secretary of State, Dianna Duran (R) resigned in Oct. 2015 following an indictment for criminal charges for siphoning off funds from her election account to fuel her gambling.
Today, I just happened to catch part of the Thom Hartmann Show from Friday, Aug. 2nd on Free Speech T.V. featuring Greg Palast, investigative journalist for Rolling Stone Magazine, talking about the GOP's secret agenda to purge 7 million voters from registration lists in 30 states before the Nov. election.<http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890>
One of the methods Republicans are using to purge voter lists is a simple postcard that appears in your mailbox claiming to require validation of your address. Aha, my concerns about that little postcard were instantly validated. When your gut tells you something is wrong, trust it! Your instincts will never fail you. Even before catching this Greg Palast interview on the THS, I planned to follow up with my local elections board, and call the Gallup Independent and the Albuquerque Journal to do a little investigative digging on their own. I know that I must also write a letter to the editor exposing this possible fraudlent scheme to take our away our voting rights perpetrated by the Republicans in Santa Fe.
How many of these thin, paper postcards were churned up during postal processing and never made it to their intended voters?
How many of these "official" election postcards were tossed in the trash unwittingly by likely voters?
How many of these thin, little cards will make it back to your local elections office in time to assure registration?
Why did I get one, after 45 years of voting; perhaps because I live on the Navajo Reservation and the Republicans favor going after people of color?
How many other Republican-controlled states is this happening?
Please, sound the alarm all across the nation. Help get the Dept. of Justice's investigative arm involved, the FBI, the media ,like your local newspaper or radio outlets. We can no longer afford complacency and indifference when our democracy is being devoured, bite by bite, right before our eyes.
Make this a story everyday prior to the election and beyond, regardless of who wins. A silent coup d' etat has already occured at all levels of government. We need to begin to turn the tide against them inch by inch by inch, and be in it for the long haul.
Thanks so much for your efforts and time, and for reading about my personal experience which is affecting millions across the country.