Opposition ends in New Mexico County after allegations of fraud jeopardize primary certification

The Otero County Commission voted 2-1, with one of the central figures refusing to certify the results, Commissioner Qui Griffinvoting “no”.

“Honestly, we have no choice,” said Commission Chairman Vicki Marquard before the vote, citing the possibility of fines and removal if the commission ignores a state Supreme Court order to certify primary results.

Griffin, who was convicted earlier Friday in Washington, D.C., for his role in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, called for a meeting and said his “feelings and intuition” told him to oppose the move. He also criticized what he called the “takeover of the state government”.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, successfully sought a decision from the state’s Supreme Court this week to enforce certification. The National Commission refused to validate the results on Monday, citing concerns about Dominion voting machines and questions about a handful of individual votes in this month’s primary election.

Friday marked the deadline for New Mexico counties to certify the results.

“I am relieved that the Otero County Commission has finally done the right thing and fulfilled its obligation under New Mexico law to certify the free and fair results of the 2022 primary,” Oliver said in a statement. “Otero County voters and candidates who have duly won their primary election can now rest assured that their vote has been heard and that the general election can proceed as planned.”

The confrontation in New Mexico has sparked concerns among voice advocates across the country, who feared the commissioners’ initial actions were a sign of impending disruption – as debunked electoral conspiracy theories by former President Donald Trump and his allies imposed in parts of the country.

“This is the canary in the coal mine of 2022 and 2024,” said Jonathan Diaz, senior legal counsel for voting rights at the non-partisan Legal Center of the campaign, to delay certification in Otero County. “I think it reflects the pernicious nature of the election lies that the former president and his allies spread after that election and continue to spread today.

This week, Oliver also made a criminal complaint to the state’s attorney general, urging the commission to investigate what it called “numerous illegal acts” – including an initial refusal to certify the results of the primary election and a ballot to remove ballot boxes.

Marquard said in a packed hearing on Friday that Oliver, the U.S. Supreme Court, the state legislature and Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, “are directing the commission to approve stamping under the threat of criminal charges and imprisonment.”

“I will not be of use to Otero County residents from prison or if I am removed from office,” she added.

In a press release Thursday, Marquard said he was not seeking to cancel the 2020 election, but had specific concerns about the certification of the state’s voting system, and about three votes were said to have been “submitted by where the people who lived there died. ” At Friday’s meeting, she said her questions about the votes had been addressed by district election officials.

Griffin, who was convicted in March of a felony, escaped jail on Friday and was sentenced to 14 days of time served, fined $ 3,000 and given one year of controlled release with the requirement to perform 60 hours of community service.

Griffin, who co-founded the Cowboys for Trump, issued a provocative tone in front of a Washington courtroom earlier Friday, saying Oliver’s crime “speaks volumes about the vengeance of New Mexico’s policies today.”

Just over 7,300 Otero County voters voted in this month’s primary election, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Trump easily won the Republican Fortress in 2020

But officials in the southern district of New Mexico, with about 68,000 people, had previously been screened for their election-related behavior.

Earlier this year, the commission authorized a third-party review of the county’s 2020 election results. It included a door-to-door “audit team” to question voters, prompting the House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Commission. of the United States yes an investigation is launched.
or settlement agreement between the county and a company with which he had contracted to conduct the review, he concluded that “There is no electoral fraud.”

Diaz of the campaign’s Legal Center said it was a “reassuring sign” that the New Mexico Supreme Court had taken such swift action to enforce certification. He said he hoped it would “serve as a warning shot for other county councils and people involved in the election campaign and certification process, that this is not acceptable and you cannot invalidate the voices of the American people.”

This story was updated with additional reports on Friday.

CNN’s Holmes Librand contributed to this report.

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