On Monday, the Republican Party of New Mexico (RPNM) and four county clerks filed a lawsuit with the New Mexico Supreme Court after it was revealed that Republican poll challengers were denied access to observe absentee ballot processing.
The Party’s press release on the violations reads as follows:
Under Senate Bill 4, which was passed during the June Special Session, County Clerks are required to verify that each and every received mailed ballot has the correct voter identification – a voter’s signature and the last four digits of their social security number.
More than a quarter of a million absentee ballots have already been returned by New Mexico voters, providing County Clerks with a near-impossible task of reviewing each ballot.
One of the rights guaranteed by law to poll challengers is the ability to act as a check and balance to a County Clerk’s determination of whether to accept or reject a ballot. Multiple counties have denied Republican poll challengers the right to perform their duties, taking absentee ballots behind closed doors and out of sight of the very people who elect them.
“To have the Republican Party declare that duly elected County Clerks are purposefully deceiving the public is a worrying tactic ahead of a highly-charged election that has already seen far too many instances of intimidation and misinformation,” said Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Alex Curtas, who was involved in the dissemination of election news during the 2018 midterm elections, where irregularities were found.
The Party and two county clerks also filed another suit in the First Judicial District Court over absentee ballot drop-off box violations, where irregularities have already been observed. The RPNM asked for an “injunction to make sure these counties and all others comply with state law regarding the drop box security measures.
But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected the Party’s suit regarding absentee ballot counting and poll challengers, without an explanation from the Court on why it rejected RPNM’s request.
The Republican Party of New Mexico claimed the move not to take up the case was politically motivated, writing in a press release that the Court’s decision “is not only a slap in the face to the minority party but suggests that the Court has turned a blind eye to justice and the integrity of the voting process. For the sake of New Mexico voters, it’s flabbergasting that Justices wouldn’t want to examine ballot-processing infractions with so much at stake on November 3.”
“We need transparency in our elections and the law to be followed. County workers in the shadows, out of sight, handling absentee ballots is not legal, open or transparent. It’s shameful the Court didn’t see these violations as something to address,” the release continued.
“We’re thankful the New Mexico Supreme Court quickly denied this petition today so the state’s election administrators can get back to focusing on the vital work of running the 2020 General Election,” the Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement, adding, “Voters in New Mexico should have confidence that their vote will count no matter if they are voting in person or by mail ballot.”
According to the Secretary of State’s data as of October 27, 265,739 absentee ballots had already been mailed back to county clerks across the state, 166,655 being from Democrats, 56,747 from Republicans, and the rest from minor parties and voters who decline to state a party affiliation.
The Democrat Party of New Mexico has already begun its ballot harvesting initiatives, according to Pameyla Herndon, a caucus chair for the party, who urged supporters during a closed fundraising call to harvest votes from senior citizens to favor Democrat candidates.
As of October 27, Republicans outnumber Democrats with in-person early voting, while Democrats outnumber Republicans dramatically with absentee. During the 2018 race in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, thousands of irregularities were found in Doña Ana County, where Republican Yvette Herrell won the race on Election Day. However, once absentee ballots were “counted” later, the race was swung in Democrat Xochitl Torres Small’s favor. An audit revealed multiple signs of election fraud.
Just this year, two individuals have been convicted of voter fraud using absentee ballots, following New Mexico’s long track record of fraudulent election activity, which can be read more about here.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, even more absentee ballots are being cast for the November 2020 election, and the more absentee ballots without oversight from poll challengers are ripe for fraud.