Reports of voter intimidation in NM: What you need to know for Election Day

Tuesday is Election Day, and there are some reports already of voter intimidation during early voting that concluded on Saturday. 

According to elections expert Erin Clements, Otero County Clerk Robin Holmes “is telling her poll workers that if voters want to use their own blue pen to fill out their ballots… to WRITE DOWN THEIR NAMES AND REFER THEM TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY,” adding, “That’s  VOTER INTIMIDATION from a public official!”

According to NMSA 1-12-57, “After marking and preparing a paper ballot in a polling place, the voter: A. shall not show it to any person in the polling place in such a way as to reveal its contents; And B. shall feed the paper ballot into the electronic vote tabulator.” 

Therefore, the poll workers should not be able even to know if the individual used a blue or black pen to fill in the ballot.

The state statute affirms in NMSA 1-12-59 that such activity “may constitute the crime of offering a bribe, coercion of employees, coercion of voters, intimidation or conspiracy to violate the Election Code.” 

According to a guide promulgated by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, “A ballot properly marked with any device other than the marking device provided to the voter shall be counted,” no matter what color or type of utensil was used to fill it out.

After this revelation from Clements, Professor David Clements wrote, “I personally reached out to the Otero County Sheriff and District Attorney this evening and demanded assurances that they would take no part in the corrupt Otero county clerk’s scheme to threaten voters.” 

The Clements and others are informing voters that they should fill out their ballots on Election Day with blue ballpoint pens instead of those provided at the precinct. This will leave an indentation on the ballot that cannot be replicated by printing mechanisms in the machine, which cannot leave such a mark. Many legal documents are signed with preferably blue ink, and ballots are no exception. The machines do not have the capability of printing in blue ink.

What you need to know before you vote on Election Day:

  • To prepare to vote, you can view your sample ballot by searching your voter registration here. It is advised to print out a copy of your sample ballot and fill it in or to write down what/who you would like to vote for so that when you get to the polls, you will be prepared. 
  • There will be multiple bond issues, constitutional amendments, and judicial retentions on the ballot. All the judges up for retention are Democrat judges. All the constitutional amendments will result in either higher taxes or an increase in government overreach. All bond issues will either extend or increase taxes, while millions in tax revenue from the previous bonds have not even been spent yet. Take this into consideration before voting. 
  • All voting locations for Election Day can be found by visiting your local county clerk’s website or by searching by your address here. Polls are open Tuesday between 7:00 am and 7:00 p.m. If you are in line to vote before 7:00 p.m. and while you are waiting, the time goes past 7:00 p.m., you are still allowed to vote. Stay in line. 
  • Voting does matter. For people who say their votes don’t count, many elections across the state have been determined by a handful of votes. Every single vote counts, especially for the statewide races.
  • If told at the precinct that you already voted, voters are advised to call the sheriff. Call the sheriff if any other issues of voter intimidation or potentially illegal activity arise. All sheriff offices’ phone numbers across New Mexico can be found here. It is advised you have your local sheriff’s phone number saved on your phone for easy access.
  • If election workers try to take away your writing device or attempt to stop you from voting with it, call the sheriff. That is voter intimidation. You can vote with a blue ballpoint pen, and your vote is legally required to be counted.
  • If you spoil your ballot at the voting location (such as voting incorrectly and wanting to fix it or any other incident), please make sure your ballot reads “SPOILED” on the ballot itself to indicate it has been rejected and you are issued a new one.
  • If you have an absentee ballot and it has not been returned yet, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE MAIL. Hand-deliver it to a voting precinct on Election Day to make sure it is counted. If you put it in the mail at this late date, your vote will not count.
  • New Mexico has same-day voter registration. If you are not registered to vote yet, YOU CAN STILL VOTE. At the polling location, you can register to vote on Election Day by bringing a form of identification, such as a driver’s license and a utility/phone/mortgage bill to register. 

For any other information about voting, New Mexicans are urged to visit The phone number for the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office is 505-827-3600 (Option 2).


13 thoughts on “Reports of voter intimidation in NM: What you need to know for Election Day”

  1. Your link to a sample ballot doesn’t work!
    “The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.”

      1. Thanks for letting us know. I think the date of birth is just to verify you are the correct voter so someone else with a similar name doesn’t get the incorrect sample ballot.

  2. I had a minor incident in Sandoval County as well. When I went into vote, I told them I would be using my own pen. The poll worker said they would prefer me to use their felt pen (like I care what they prefer). I looked her straight in the eye and told her in no uncertain terms that I would be using my own pen. Then she backed off. So, it’s not just happening in Otero County.

    1. As a poll worker, I was told that in training the marker rule was preferred but not mandatory. Unfortunately a woman came in to vote and was very angry that I said there were markers in the booth. Please don’t take it out on the clerks, we are being watched by both Rep. & Dem. “watchers” and “challangers”. If we even breathe the wrong way we are written up. Maybe we should just be able to vote by phone- good enough for reality shows- so maybe instead of hating each other we should just keep who we vote for to ourselves and T-Mobil or Att you all trust them with everything else about you so why not your vote. It would certainly make it easier for the CCP to track and disown you for your beliefs.

    1. This whole comment is full of contradictions and half truths. I believe some people want to control votes, but this comment was pretty silly.

  3. Went in as an early voter and the individual next to me stated that he wanted to use his own pen (blue ink). Poll worker told the man that if he insisted on using blue ink then the ballot would not be allowed to be submitted for 20 minutes. She gave no true reason for the 20 minute delay only that she was instructed to tell the voter that information. Voter kept a calm head and said “That’s fine. I will wait 20 minutes.”
    Oh it is happening. I truly felt like it was voter intimidation.

    1. Don’t believe every story, there is no reason to delay the tabulation of a ballot.
      Instead the gentleman should have spoken to the presiding judge at the polling place. Perhaps the story is more like he wasn’t registered and had to avail himself of same day registration which must be verified with the Secretary of State’s office. It can take up to 20 minutes if there are many same day registering at the same time. You can register any time of the year up until 45 days before election. It will save you time and anger on election day. Can’t we all use our frustration more productively? May YOUR candidate win- 4 more years of the same?
      Or perhaps a different flavor of the month?

      1. I have been fighting with poll workers for the past 3 years about them telling me I can’t use my own pen. During the primaries I was told by 2 poll workers that they wouldn’t accept my ballot if I didn’t use their pen. I referred them to the Dominion user manual for the type of Dominion machines we use that said that you can use blue or black pens but not to use the type of felt tip pens they were pushing. They wouldn’t back down so I called and reported them for voter intimidation while I was at the polling place. I put the person at the county clerks office on speakerphone and Elizabeth told them that she knows they were told to make people use the pens provided in their training but this is incorrect. Maybe poll workers should educate themselves instead of blaming voters of not being “nice”. If you sign up to do a job then know what you are doing, don’t trust the trainers because they are government employees!

  4. I blogged this article earlier today. One has to wonder just who were complaining. Robin Holmes is a Republican, so it seems odd that she would be trying to intimidate anyone. Intimidation is the Democrat modus operandi, not Republican. Maybe Democrat plants? Just be extra cautious when voting.

  5. we just voted in Rio Rancho and only felt tip offered. i even asked i thought ball point are to be used. She said no the felt read better. one of the clerks said I am so glad for same day registration… we have become so lazy we cant go register early to become a voter. I also handed my id and she said we don’t need that. i said i certainly do and i hope everyone will have to soon.

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