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GOP congressional candidate files ballot impoundment lawsuit

Ballots are counted at the Bernalillo County Bureau of Elections voting machine warehouse in this Nov. 3 file photo. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

SANTA FE — A Republican congressional candidate who was defeated in last month’s general election has filed a lawsuit seeking to have all ballots cast in Bernalillo County impounded.

The Republican Party of New Mexico said Friday it had supported and financed the lawsuit, which was filed in the Albuquerque-based 2nd Judicial District Court by Michelle Garcia Holmes.

The impoundment lawsuit comes more than a month after the Nov. 3 general election. The state canvassing board has already certified all state election results, except in a few hotly-contested races that triggered automatic recounts.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has defended the integrity of the election, saying there were multiple levels of checks to ensure accuracy.

However, the state Republican Party said in a Friday news release they want to have ballots checked, with GOP chairman Steve Pearce citing questions about election integrity issues. He did not make any specific voter fraud allegations.

Garcia Holmes was soundly defeated in her race against Democratic incumbent Deb Haaland, with Haaland getting roughly 58% of the more than 321,000 votes cast in the race.

Overall, this year’s general election saw unprecedented absentee voting levels drive turnout to a record-high of 928,230 ballots cast in New Mexico.

Another Republican congressional candidate, Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo, filed a similar ballot impoundment lawsuit in 2018. But Herrell did not ultimately contest that year’s election results after reviewing ballot materials.

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