‘Honestly, we have no choice,’ Commission Chairwoman Vickie Marquardt said ahead of the vote, citing the risk of fines and dismissal if the panel ignores a state Supreme Court order. to certify the primary results.
Friday marked the deadline for New Mexico counties to certify results.
“I am relieved that the Otero County Commission finally did the right thing and fulfilled its duty under New Mexico law to certify the free and fair results of the 2022 primary election,” Oliver said in a statement. “Otero County voters and candidates who duly won their primaries can now rest assured that their voices have been heard and the general election can proceed as scheduled.”
The confrontation in New Mexico had set off alarm bells among suffrage advocates nationwide, who feared the commissioners’ initial actions marked a preview of the disruption to come – as the debunked election conspiracy theories put forward by former President Donald Trump and his allies are settling in parts of the country.
“It’s the canary in the coal mine for 2022 and 20224,” said Jonathan Diaz, senior legal counsel for voting rights at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, of Otero County’s certification delay. “I think this reflects the pernicious nature of the lies about the election that the former president and his allies were spreading in the aftermath of that election and continue to spread today.”
This week, Oliver also made a criminal referral to the state attorney general, asking the commission to investigate what she called “multiple unlawful actions” – including the initial refusal to certify the results of the primary. and the vote to withdraw the ballot boxes. .
Marquardt said Friday in a crowded courtroom that Oliver, the state Supreme Court, the state legislature and Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, “are forming this commission to approve the endorsement under threat of criminal charges and imprisonment”.
“I will be of no use to the people of Otero County in jail or if I am removed from office,” she added.
In a press release Thursday, Marquardt said she was not looking to question the 2020 election, but had specific concerns about the certification of the state’s voting system and about three votes allegedly ” expressed from an address where the people living there died”. At Friday’s meeting, she said her questions about those votes were handled by county election officials.
Griffin, who co-founded Cowboys for Trump, had struck a defiant tone outside the Washington courtroom earlier on Friday, saying Oliver’s criminal referral ‘speaks volumes about the vindictiveness of New Mexico politics today’ today”.
Just over 7,300 Otero County voters cast ballots in this month’s primary, according to the secretary of state’s office. Trump easily won the Republican stronghold in 2020.
But officials in New Mexico’s southern county, home to about 68,000 people, have already faced scrutiny for their election-related conduct.
Diaz of the Campaign Legal Center said it was “a reassuring sign” that the New Mexico Supreme Court moved so quickly to force certification. He said he hoped it “would serve as a wake-up call to other county councils and those involved in the election solicitation and certification process that this is not acceptable and that you cannot invalidate the votes of the American people”.
This story was updated with additional reports on Friday.
CNN’s Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.
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