Conflicts between Republican-leaning counties in New Mexico and Democratic state officials over the safety of voting machines, which threatened a wider political crisis, were cleared after local commissioners voted Friday to certify their election results.
The Otero County Commission’s decision overturned an earlier decision to certify the June 7 preliminary results due to unspecified concerns about the voting system.
The two commissioners who voted in favor said they had been threatened with prosecution by the state’s attorney general and had no recourse under the law – but criticized their position as being slightly higher than a rubber stamp.
Commissioner Cowie Griffin was the only dissenting opinion, but he acknowledged that there was no basis for questioning the election results. Since he was in Washington, D.C., he dialed at a meeting where he was sentenced for entering the restricted U.S. Capitol Grounds during the January 6, 2021 riots.
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“My opinion of ‘no’ is not based on any evidence. It is not based on any facts,” Griffin said, still requesting that ballots be counted by hand. “It’s just based on my gut feeling and my own intuition.”
The Otero election clerk had earlier told the Associated Press that the preliminary race had ended without a hitch and that the results had since been confirmed: “It was a great election,” said Republican Robin Holmes.
Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who called on the state’s Supreme Court to intervene, expressed relief at Otero County’s decision, saying “it is a shame that the commission has pushed our state to the brink of crisis.”
Election experts across the US have cited examples of chaos as people who promote unbalanced claims of fraud after the re-election of former President Donald Trump seek to fill election offices and generally low-profile circles across the country. Certify results. Conspiracy theories A mixture of misinformation has created a volatile stew that has eroded confidence in elections, threatened election officials and raised fears of violence in future elections.
On Friday, the last day to certify their preliminary results for 33 counties in New Mexico, Josh was on full display. The last six counties voted to do so, but some of those present at the meeting were outraged.
In a politically conservative county, angry residents shouted and politely greeted their three commissioners when they met to consider the certificate. As frustrated Torrance County commissioners signaled they would vote to validate their election, the audience chanted “You’re ashamed,” “Cowards and traitors,” and “Who chose you?”
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The commissioner urged the audience to exercise restraint and said that concerns over alleged election insecurity would eventually be allayed.
“The time and place to fight this battle is not the election campaign,” President Ryan Schwebach told a crowd in Torrance County.
In another county, the commission’s chairman cracked down and ordered law enforcement protesters to leave the room. The 4-1 vote cast by the Republican-dominated commission in Sandoval County to certify the election was almost drowned out by a barrage of opposition from a divided audience.
Commissioner J Block – the Republican primary candidate who failed in the June 7 election for governor – protested against the approval and applause.
“We need to present the full facts about the election,” Block said.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud or tampering with voting equipment in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, and no such fraud has been reported so far this year.
To underscore the accuracy of the election results, the second Sandoval County commissioner read out audit findings that compared the number of votes recorded by the county’s tabulating machine in 2020 to a sample of actual paper ballots. The difference between the race for president, the U.S. Senate, and other offices was only 1% – “almost negligible,” said Republican Commissioner David Hale.
Certification of elections, usually under-the-radar by local commissions, has been the norm for decades, and has become part of the politics since Trump sought to undermine the process following Joe Biden’s defeat in the 2020 election.
Otero County raised the issue this week when its commission said it would not certify local results from the primary because of concerns over the Dominion voting system, even though there was no evidence of problems. If they had stuck to their guns, the commissioners would have likely disenfranchised more than 7,300 voters in the county that would have voted for Trump in 2020.
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New Mexico’s primary ballot included races at all levels, including a long list of congressmen, governors, attorney generals, and local offices. Those races will not be official until all counties are certified.