Friday, June 9

New Mexico secretary of state asks court to step in after GOP commission refuses to certify election results

WASHINGTON — New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has asked the state Supreme Court to order a GOP county commission to certify primary election results after the panel refused to do so, citing concerns with voting machines.

Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday that the Otero County Commission, comprised of three Republican members, is “appeasing unfounded conspiracy theories and potentially nullifying the votes of every Otero County voter who participated in the primary.” The county’s southern line is near the US-Mexico border.

In a 19-page filing, the secretary of state asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the county commission to certify election results from the 2022 primary election held on June 7.

“At the meeting they identified no deficiency in the election results, but rather made unsubstantiated claims about the voting systems in use throughout the state,” Toulouse Oliver said to the court.

The commission held the meeting Monday, in which they were presented with the election results by County Clerk Robyn Holmes and were supposed to certify them. Holmes “presented the results of the canvases, found no discrepancies in the results, and recommended approval to certify the canvass report,” Toulouse Oliver said.

But the commission decided against doing so. Instead, each member expressed concern with whether the results were accurate and whether the voting machines used could be trusted. They use machines made by Dominion, according to the Associated Press, which former President Donald Trump spread baseless theories about in order to push his claims of a stolen election in 2020.

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Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin leaves the federal court in Washington on March. 21, 2022.Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP file

“I have huge concerns with the voting machines,” said Commissioner Vickie Marquardt, in yet another instance where Republican officials have questioned the validity of election results. “I do not trust these machines.”

Marquardt added that she feels like she would be “dishonest” if she certified the election results because the commission didn’t have the ability to “thoroughly check these things out,” in reference to the machines. The clerk, however, repeatedly emphasized that the county goes through a process to ensure the machines are reliable and work properly.

“As this Petition makes clear, the Canvassing Board has failed to undertake its statutory duty to approve the canvass report and certify the election,” Toulouse Oliver said to the court.

The other two commission members, Gerald Matherly and Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, also expressed concerns about the voting machines.

“Let somebody else certify it,” Griffin said during the meeting after the clerk made it clear that if the commission refused to certify the results, then it would be resolved through the courts.

Griffin was found guilty in March of trespassing on restricted grounds during the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

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