New Mexico Supreme Court Orders All GOP Otero County Commission To Certify Primary Results

New Mexico Supreme Court Orders All GOP Otero County Commission To Certify Primary Results

New Mexico Supreme Court Orders All GOP Otero County Commission To Certify Primary Results

The conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines that erupted during the 2020 presidential election flared up this week in a remote New Mexico province, in what could be just a taste of the kind of chaos election pundits fear in the fall and into 2024.

The Otero County Governing Board declined to certify the local results of the June 7 primaries because of the equipment, in what was seen as another example of how the state lies spread by former president Donald Trump and its allies have tainted the elections and threatened the democratic process.

“We’re in terrifying territory,” said Jennifer Morrell, a former Colorado and Utah election official who now advises federal, state and local officials. “If this can happen here, where? It’s like a cancer, a virus. It’s spread and growing.”

There is no evidence of widespread fraud or manipulation of voting devices in the elections of 2020, which Trump lost to Joe Biden. But that hasn’t stopped the false claims, especially those about… Dominion Machines

“I’m very concerned about these voting machines,” Otero County Commissioner Vickie Marquardt said Monday as she and her two fellow commissioners — all Republicans — voted unanimously. “When I declare things that I don’t know to be right, I feel like I’m being unfair because in my heart I don’t know if it’s right.”

The commissioners in the conservative, pro-Trump district were able to point out that there were no real problems with the Dominion equipment.

New Mexico’s Secretary of State asked the state’s Supreme Court to intervene and order the province to certify the votes, and the Supreme Court did so on Wednesday. That would ensure that the nearly 7,400 votes cast in Otero County are registered as legal votes. The deadline for the provincial certification is Friday.

In the weeks and months following the election, several Trump allies claimed that the Dominion’s voting systems had been manipulated in some way as part of an elaborate plan to steal the election.

On Monday, the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol presented testimony that Trump had been repeatedly told that his claims about stolen elections and rigged voting systems were false and dangerous. That included pushback from his inner circle to the claims about Dominion voting systems, which are used by jurisdictions in 27 states.

Former Attorney General William Barr said in a videotaped interview with House investigators that he spoke to Trump about the “idiotic claims” surrounding Dominion.

Barr said he found them “one of the most disturbing allegations” because they were “done in such a sensational way that they clearly influenced a lot of people”. He added that the claims are doing the country “a serious disservice”.

Trump ignored that and his allies continued to attack Dominion. According to the House panel, the day after Barr spoke to Trump, the president released a video in which he claimed without evidence that “with turning a dial or switching a chip, you can push a button for Trump and the vote goes on.” to Biden.”

Dominion has filed defamation lawsuits against several Trump associates and conservative media organizations, including Fox News.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that the action by the Otero County commissioners was “another example of how lies about Dominion have damaged our business and diminished public confidence in elections.”

Otero County, with a population of about 67,000, went for Trump by nearly 62% in 2020. One of the commissioners is Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffinwho was convicted of entering the trespassing area of ​​the United States Capitol – but not the building – during the January 6 uprising

“Cowboys for Trump” founder Couy Griffin broadcast live on Facebook from the steps of the Capitol during the January 6, 2021 demonstration.

“Inside Edition” / Facebook

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said the commissioners violated the law and their oath of office by refusing to certify the vote. She said there is a process to address any issues with an election, but the commissioners have not specified any.

“Unfortunately, when a county decides to act completely outside the law, it gives credibility to others who want to do the same,” she said. “We have the potential to see this spread and have a knock-on effect.”

Numerous procedures are in place, including pre- and post-testing of voting equipment and post-election audits to ensure machines are working properly. In New Mexico voters mark their paper ballots by hand. The ballots are then fed into a scanner to count the results.

Vulnerabilities exist, as with any technology, but election officials are working to identify and fix them. A recent advisory from the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency exposed certain vulnerabilities discovered in Dominion voting systems and made recommendations to election officials.

But those who make false claims about voting systems want more than just hand-cast paper ballots – they also want the ballots to be counted entirely by hand. Experts say this is unreliable, time-consuming, labor-intensive and completely unnecessary given the various safeguards.

One of the most prominent advocates for this is Jim Marchant, a former state legislator who was selected Tuesday as the Republican nominee for secretary of state in Nevada. Marchant is among a group of “America First” candidates who want to oversee the election while denying the outcome of the latter.

Election experts say the Otero County case is a warning of what could happen if candidates who repeat election warnings and misinformation are given the responsibility of overseeing the vote.

“This is just a taste of what we might see in the future, such as election deniers run for positions with control over elections across the country,” said David Becker, a former attorney for the US Department of Justice who directs the Center for Election Innovation and Research.