Two New Mexico counties that delayed or resisted reviewing the results of the June primary election confirmed this week’s general election without incident. In a third district, a commissioner who voted against certifying the June primary again voted no, but was again outvoted four to one by the other commissioners.
How it’s supposed to work
Before the votes, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Mandy Vigil, the director of state elections, sent a notice to the county commissions that state law requires them to certify the elections.
New Mexico officials are warning of potential disruption to county-level voter registrations
If the commissioners find that there have been errors in the election results, they should issue a subpoena to a district committee and notify the Secretary of State, but “nevertheless must proceed with obtaining all correct election results, as it is their duty to find errors, not correct them.” ‘ the letter says.
Alex Curtas, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said state law doesn’t provide commissioners with an opportunity to opt out. “You have no ultimate discretion not to certify the results,” he said. “We expect these counties to obey the law.”
The all-Republican Otero County Commission initially voted against confirming the results of the June primary before doing so commanded to do so by the New Mexico Supreme Court. Following the court order, the county reversed its decision and voted two-to-one to confirm the results. The only remaining “no” came from ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin, who called in to the convention to vote immediately after his conviction on federal charges related to his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Griffin was later forbidden from public office by a state judge who determined that he had taken part in a riot in the Capitol and was therefore ineligible for office under the provisions of the 14th Amendment.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Democrat Stephanie DuBois to replace Griffin. DuBois lost the November 8 election for Republican Amy Barela, who will replace her at the start of the New Year. Last week, Griffin disturbed the Otero County Commission session during public comment, repeatedly calling DuBois a “loser” before he was removed by the sheriff. He was later allowed to return and finish his comment.
Griffin was absent from Tuesday’s Otero County election confirmation meeting. Earlier the same day the New Mexico Supreme Court kicked out his appeal with a request to overturn the decision to bar him from office.
All three commissioners voted yes after Commissioners Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly noted they were legally required to do so, and DuBois said she was confident in the results. Marquardt continued to express skepticism about using voting machines, though she said she had no specific reason to doubt the accuracy of Otero County’s elections.
During the meeting, Marquardt also expressed regret about a vote in June remove ballot boxes, stop using voting machines and count all ballots by hand. The Office of the Secretary of State asked the attorney general’s office to investigate that decision on the grounds that it exceeded the commission’s powers, and Marquardt said she now agrees.
“We voted on those three things, and I feel bad for it because we really didn’t have authority,” she said. “I feel bad that we gave you that false hope…we shouldn’t have.”
rejection of voters
The vote on the three electoral measures and the first vote by the commission against the confirmation of the area code took place at the urging of the right-wing conspiracy theorists David and Erin Clements. The couple backed a number of standoffs in New Mexico and other states, including Republican nominee for Secretary of State Audrey Trujillo in New Mexico and GOP nominee for Arizona governor’s race Kari Lake, both of whom lost their races.
The two people behind the New Mexico vote-resistance movement
voters across the country mostly rejected Candidates casting doubt on the 2020 election.
In an email, Erin Clements falsely claimed that many of the candidates supported by the two won their elections but were declared losers because of fraud. She said the Otero County Commission “failed in its duty to advocate for the citizens of Otero County” when it voted to confirm the election results.
In an interview, Griffin said he would have voted against confirming the election results again if he had been allowed to remain in office.
“I have no respect for Commissioner Marquardt’s comment and subsequent vote because she said in her comment that she also does not believe in the accuracy of the machines,” he said. “She questions the machines, but still votes to confirm the election, and she does so under the intimidation of being removed from office.”
Still no evidence
However, conspiracy theories fueled by former President Donald Trump have cast doubt on the reliability of voting machines no credible evidence In the two years following the 2020 election, widespread problems with the machines have emerged. Local and national experts say the elections are in New Mexico to the safest in the country.
Torrance County unofficial audit
In Torrance County, the Conservative Committee of Commissioners voted in June to postpone the primary results certification vote, but reconvened and voted unanimously in favor of certification after the state Supreme Court in Otero County intervened. On Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to confirm the results of the general election, before hearing an update on an unofficial scrutiny the county began following the June primary.
A similar audit was conducted in Otero County could not prove any fraud, and has been the subject of state and federal investigations into use of funds and possible voter intimidation. In Thursday’s update, Torrance County Manager Janice Barela, who is overseeing the unofficial audit, told the commission that she had no evidence of fraud and was requesting additional information from the county clerk. Barcelona in October said the Associated Press that she “won’t be perfect at this (elective exam), but I can tell you I’m trying.”
Barela was also a key figure in the push to fire former Torrance County Clerk Yvonne Otero. The district has asked the state to do so Extinguish Otero resigned from her post after investigating whether Otero properly certified voting machines. Commissioners say the investigation also found that Otero used drugs and harassed employees.
Bernalillo County conspiracy theorists
At a Bernalillo County Commission meeting Tuesday, about a dozen public commentators demanded that the commission vote against certification, citing debunked electoral conspiracy theories pushed by the Clements and former President Trump. The Bernalillo County Commission is meeting Monday to vote on the matter, and Commissioners Debbie O’Malley, Adriann Barboa and Charlene Pyskoty told Source New Mexico they will certify and do not expect a vote or delay.
Bernalillo Borough Assistant Secretary Jaime Diaz said if voters have concerns about the integrity of the election, they should speak directly to their borough secretary’s office.
Let us know what you think…
“If they have any questions, they should really just talk to the Clerk’s Office and ask them, let’s better understand how you do things,” he said. “I know we’re very transparent in Bernalillo County, and if you’re still wondering, take a day and volunteer so they can be election officials and be part of this process and see how this is going. ”
Sandoval County Republican Commissioner Jay Block voted against confirming the election results on Friday, repeating his no following the June primary.
Block, a Clements ally who has expressed skepticism about the election process, was absent from Friday’s meeting and called on the speakerphone. He said he voted no because he could not see an information packet given to the commissioners present in the chambers during the session. The vote passed, and all four other commissioners voted to approve the certification.
Block was emailed for comment ahead of the meeting, wanting to know why Source New Mexico didn’t cover a laundry list of articles including Stacey Abrams and “election deniers of 2016.” Abrams is a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who never ran for office in New Mexico. Source New Mexico was incorporated five years after the 2016 election. Block then went on the offensive: “I’m not sure momma raised you that way, but it’s disappointing. Mom should have instilled values in you to stand up, answer a question and be honest.”
Block continued to email while Friday’s commission meeting was underway. Minutes before casting his “no” vote on certification, he wrote, “Your integrity is in question and trust. I hope you can build that trust with me.”
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