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New Mexico Supreme Court orders rural county to certify election results by Friday

The state’s Democratic secretary of state sued the rural county’s conservative-led canvassing board after it voted against certifying primary election results.

(CN) — The New Mexico Supreme Court ordered Otero County to certify primary election results by Friday, after the rural county’s Republican-led commission refused to complete the task, citing distrust of Dominion voting machines.

New Mexico’s secretary of state, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, considered the ruling a victory for democracy.

“I applaud the court for their swift decision in granting my office’s request to compel the Otero County Commission to follow their constitutional duties and duty under the election code to certify the results of the 2022 primary election,” said Oliver, a Democrat, in a statement. “Though it was sad to see the commission give in to discredited conspiracy theories and try to halt the legal process of election certification, it’s encouraging to know that the rule of law prevailed.”

Otero County’s three-member canvassing board voted against certifying last week’s primary election results in meeting held this Monday.

“For me, personally it’s that it continues. More and more reports come out nationwide, I get emails from people all across the country that are super concerned about this. It’s not just little old Otero County,” said Otero County Commission Chairwoman Vickie Marquardt in the Monday meeting.

“It makes you really think about things, and this is my signature and I want to make sure it’s right,” Marquardt said before the vote.

Per the lawsuit, state law does not give county boards the ability to delay certification or initiate a hand recount.

New Mexico instead requires county canvassing boards “meet to approve the report of the canvass of the returns and declare the results no sooner than six days and no later than 10 days from the date of the election.”

No creditable evidence that election fraud influenced Otero County’s elections has been released. The county clerk also recommended approving the canvass report.

“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,” Oliver wrote in the 19-page complaint filed Wednesday morning.

While candidates are allowed to request and bear the cost of a hand recount, the commission cannot initiate a hand recount of ballots without approval from the secretary of state.

“Our office believes that any issues raised regarding voting machines, alternative ways to canvass, and procedures for recounts are all specifically addressed in the election code and respondent interjecting with its own procedures goes against legislative mandates when certifying election results,” the complaint explained.

Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin also sits on the board. In addition to supporting unsubstantiated claims of election fraud putting the wrong president in the White House, Griffin was found guilty of entering a restricted area during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In response to baseless accusations of voting machines committing election fraud, Dominion Voting Systems has filed several defamation lawsuits against Fox News, Newsmax, One America News Network and others that disseminated the conspiracy theory, popular among conservative supporters of Trump.

New Mexico’s complaint expressed concern that other county canvassing boards across the state might be influenced to shirk their duty to certify results not just in the primary election, but the November general election as well.

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