On Monday, President Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit in New Mexico asking a judge to stop electoral votes from being cast and counted. The lawsuit focused on “drop boxes” for the deposit of absentee ballots and alleged fraud that occurred. The suit claims Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver created an election that was not constitutional.
It made multiple allegations, including that “[c]ertain officials in New Mexico presented the pandemic as the justification for ignoring state laws regarding absentee and mail-in voting. The State of New Mexico flooded their citizenry with hundreds of thousands of ballot applications and ballots in derogation of statutory controls as to how they are lawfully received, evaluated, and counted. Whether well-intentioned or not, these unconstitutional acts had the same uniform effect — they made the 2020 election less secure in the state of New Mexico.
The drop boxes were funded and installed thanks to federal CARES Act money in an effort to “reduce numbers of voters congregating at voting locations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The suit reads as follows regarding drop-boxes:
The Secretary’s solution to this problem — which also enabled her to take advantage of federal funding earmarked for absentee-ballot drop-off boxes — was to create another ballot-return option called the “drop box.” The word “drop box” does not appear in the Election Code, and the only creature of statute that looks in any way like it is the “secured container” concept from § 1-6-9(E), but the Secretary took the position that drop boxes were not “secured containers.” Rather, the Secretary took the position that drop boxes were simply an embodiment of the longstanding rule that an absentee-ballot “official mailing envelope may be returned in person to . . . an alternate voting location, mobile alternate voting location or election day voting location.” NMSA 1978, § 1-6-9(D). In short, her position is that there is no difference between the longstanding practice of a voter turning in his or her ballot “in person” and a voter turning in to a drop box placed outside the polling place.
This procedure was simply not followed with regard to what the Trump Campaign believes was the majority of drop boxes in New Mexico, allowing individuals to drop off multiple ballots — meaning that, by definition, they were not the voter on all of them — without speaking to a person at all.
The suit concludes:
The Court should order a temporary restraining order to the Defendant Secretary and the Defendant Electors of the state of New Mexico to delay disposition of certificates of votes for President and Vice President that would ordinarily be performed in accordance with 3 U.S.C. 11, that are made and signed, or will be made and signed, in accordance with 3 U.S.C. 9. until further order of this Court and then issue a preliminary injunction or stay against their doing so until the conclusion of this case on the merits. Alternatively, the Court should reach the merits, vacate the Defendant Electors’ certifications from the unconstitutional 2020 election results, and remand to the state of New Mexico legislature pursuant to 3 U.S.C. § 2 to appoint electors.
The Republican Party previously won a legal victory regarding drop boxes before the 2020 election, with a judge agreeing with the Party that three counties “had failed to provide mandated security measures at their absentee ballot drop box locations.” Toulouse Oliver later agreed to reissue guidelines to all counties regarding dropbox supervision and procedures.
“The President’s lawsuit is valid and necessary,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. “We have questioned these drop boxes and the entire election process where the Secretary of State seems to make up her own rules and allows violations to happen in this past election. To allow these actions to happen stains our election integrity and our very democracy.”
Alex Curtas in the Secretary of State’s office brushed off the new Trump suit, telling the Las Cruces Sun-News that “This lawsuit appears to be yet another attempt by the outgoing Trump Administration to silence the voices of lawful voters throughout the country.” Previously on Monday, New Mexico’s five electors cast their ballots for vice-president and president.