New Mexico county official convicted of trespassing on Jan. 6 refuses to certify 2022 primary results based on debunked conspiracy | CNN Politics


A New Mexico county commissioner, awaiting sentencing for his Jan. 6 sentencing, said Thursday he planned to defy a state Supreme Court order and would not vote to certify the results. from a recent primary election into a flurry of attention-grabbing vote-counting machines. and the alarm of national suffrage advocates.

“I don’t plan to leave my position,” Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin said in a phone interview with CNN Thursday. “Why have a commission if we’re just overwhelmed by the justice system?”

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court, acting at the emergency request of New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, ordered Otero County commissioners to certify the primary results of here Friday – the legal deadline for county certification. The commissioners had declined to do so earlier in the week, citing distrust of Dominion voting machines.

The commission added an emergency meeting on Friday to resume certification.

Commission Chair Vickie Marquardt and Commissioner Gerald Matherly did not respond to CNN’s inquiries, and it is unclear how they intend to vote.

Griffin, one of the founders of Cowboys for Trump, was found guilty in a bench trial in March of trespassing on the grounds of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, as the vice president of the era, Mike Pence, was there. He is to be sentenced Friday in Washington.

On Thursday, Griffin told CNN he was “not trying to overturn an election. We want transparency.

“The more they try to fight us and silence us,” he said, “the more skeptical I will become.”

Otero County is one of the first known communities to balk at certifying election results. The dispute in this Republican stronghold of about 68,000 people has suffrage experts concerned that conspiracy theories about voting machines and other aspects of election administration have taken deep root in some pockets of the country. and could lead to further disruption this fall.

Commissioners raised concerns about Dominion voting machines by refusing to certify the results at a Monday meeting.

“I have huge concerns with these voting machines,” Marquardt said at the time. “I really do. I just don’t believe in my heart that they can’t be manipulated.

On Thursday, Oliver asked the state attorney general to investigate the commission into several recent actions.

In the referral to Attorney General Hector Balderas, a fellow Democrat, Oliver said members of the Otero County commission took “several illegal actions” this month – including refusing to certify primary results of June 7, ordering the suppression of the ballot paper. ballot boxes and voting to end the use of vote counting machines.

“All county officials are sworn to abide by the constitution and laws of New Mexico,” Oliver said in a press release. “The Otero County Commissioners have violated the public trust and our state laws by their recent actions and must be held accountable.”

Just over 7,300 voters in Otero County cast ballots in the primary, according to the secretary of state’s office. Counties must certify results so that candidates’ names can be placed on the November ballot. And a local race too close to be called involving two Republican candidates is awaiting certification before an automatic recount can begin.

Griffin has been a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, and he and the other Otero commissioners earlier this year authorized a third-party review of the county’s 2020 election results. It included an “audit force” of volunteers going door to door interviewing voters. Trump won the county by more than 25 points in 2020.

A U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee has asked the Justice Department to investigate the door-knocking in Otero County, citing the potential for voter intimidation. The main part of the review was outsourced to a company called EchoMail, which had been involved in a controversial review of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, Arizona. His work for Otero County ended early — as federal lawmakers started asking questions.

A settlement agreement between the county and the company stated that “no voter fraud” was found.

In a statement this week, a Dominion spokesperson called the Otero controversy “yet another example of how lies about Dominion have hurt our business and diminished public confidence in elections.”

This story and title have been updated.

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