FBI, prosecutors aim to protect election - Albuquerque Journal

FBI, prosecutors aim to protect election

Mona Belchak, second from left, trains poll officials Monday inside the Bernalillo County Bureau of Elections’ warehouse. Absentee voting starts Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The FBI and federal prosecutors say they are establishing a command post and taking other steps to safeguard New Mexico’s general election from foreign interference, voter intimidation and fraud.

They joined Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico’s chief election officer, in a news conference Monday to encourage voters to seek out trusted sources of information and avoid falling for conspiracy theories designed to shake confidence in the election system.

Their message comes as absentee voting begins Tuesday, when county clerks will begin mailing ballots to voters who have requested them. Voters can also fill out absentee ballots in person at their clerk’s office.

More than 305,000 voters have already requested absentee ballots – an unprecedented influx as more New Mexicans prepare to vote from the safety of their homes to avoid in-person polling locations amid the pandemic.

James Langenberg, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Albuquerque office, said Monday that his agency is also establishing a command post to help monitor the election – something he couldn’t recall the FBI having done in recent elections.

The FBI also completed table-top exercises, he said, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña has been designated to oversee the handling of any complaints about election fraud or voting-rights violations in New Mexico.

“I have 100% confidence in the election,” Langenberg said. “We’re doing everything we can here in New Mexico.”

He said there was no evidence that the election has been compromised by cyber intrusions or foreign influence. Nonetheless, he encouraged New Mexicans to stay vigilant and alert authorities if they spot illegal activity.

Toulouse Oliver and federal law enforcement officials also encouraged voters to seek out information from county clerks and state election officials, not from social media accounts that provide fertile ground for misinformation.

It’s normal, Langengberg said, for some ballots not to be counted on election night, and he urged people to stay patient if the outcome of some races isn’t clear.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver participates in a news conference about election security, alongside FBI Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg, left, and U.S. Attorney John Anderson. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Toulouse Oliver said New Mexico has important protections in place to ensure an accurate vote count. The state uses paper ballots marked by voters, she said, allowing for post-election audits and hand tallies.

“New Mexicans can rest assured their ballots will be counted accurately,” Toulouse Oliver said.

The state has a voter information portal at nmvote.org – where people can request absentee ballots, view the list of candidates or update their voter registration.

Tuesday is the last day for online voter registration changes, though voters can still register in person.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Oct. 20, and the deadline to mail them back is Oct. 27. The ballots can also be returned in person by 7 p.m. election night.

Home » Politics » Election » FBI, prosecutors aim to protect election

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Mathcore band Rolo Tomassi to make first tour stop ...
ABQnews Seeker
Rolo Tomassi is heading out on ... Rolo Tomassi is heading out on a month-long tour in the United States and the tour makes a stop at Launchpad on Wednesday, June ...
36th Festival Flamenco de Alburquerque celebrates the art of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Beginning on Friday, June 9, and ... Beginning on Friday, June 9, and running through June 17, the National Institute of Flamenco puts on the oldest and largest flamenco festival outside ...
'Two Sinners and a Mule' filmed across New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
"Two Sinners and a Mule" is ... "Two Sinners and a Mule" is currently available to rent or buy on streaming platforms.
Documentary looks at Carole King's groundbreaking concert
ABQnews Seeker
"Carole King: Home Again – Live ... "Carole King: Home Again – Live in Central Park" airs at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 4, on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.1. It will ...
HED's message to UNM and New Mexico State: Cooperate ...
ABQnews Seeker
The state's Higher Education Department wants ... The state's Higher Education Department wants the rivalry games between the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State men's basketball teams to continue. ...
Keeping score: Boxing judge, IBF executive Levi Martinez won ...
ABQnews Seeker
Las Cruces resident Levi Martinez, 70, ... Las Cruces resident Levi Martinez, 70, has judged 199 world title fights and has worked bouts involving some of the sport's biggest name. ...
Congressional Notebook: Stansbury votes ‘no’ on debt deal
ABQnews Seeker
Meanwhile, Russia says nyet to visits ... Meanwhile, Russia says nyet to visits from New Mexico leaders
Police find shooter's arsenal from May rampage that killed ...
ABQnews Seeker
Authorities provided a more detailed description ... Authorities provided a more detailed description Thursday of the arsenal that a New Mexico high school student had in his possession at the time.
Man found shot to death in Northwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A man was shot and killed ... A man was shot and killed Thursday evening in a West Side neighborhood.