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SANTA FE – Attorney General Hector Balderas is referring to federal law enforcement allegations that Republicans in New Mexico submitted a false document intended to deliver the state’s presidential electors to Donald Trump.
Democrat Joe Biden won New Mexico’s five electoral votes in 2020, defeating Trump by 11 percentage points and 99,720 votes.
“Election laws are the foundation of our democracy and must be respected,” Balderas, a Democrat, said in a written statement Friday. “While review under state law is ongoing, we have referred this matter to the appropriate federal law-enforcement authorities and will provide any assistance they deem necessary.”
American Oversight, a watchdog group, last March obtained certificates submitted by Republicans in seven states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
New Mexico and Pennsylvania Republicans added a caveat saying it was done in case they were later recognized as duly elected, qualified electors.
Alex Curtas, a spokesman for New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, said the state’s five electoral votes were awarded to Biden during a meeting at the state Capitol in December 2020. The election results had been certified by the State Canvassing Board.
Republicans went to the Roundhouse that day, too, Curtas said, but were denied entry.
“It was a highly irresponsible act,” he said.
The Journal wasn’t immediately able to reach a state Republican Party executive for comment late Friday.
In New Mexico, state law makes it a fourth-degree felony for designated electors to cast their ballot for anyone other than the presidential candidate who received the majority of the votes cast in the state.
The Republican document from New Mexico hedged a bit in saying Trump had won the state’s five electors, according to a copy published online by American Oversight. It said they certified the vote for Trump “on the understanding that it might later be determined that we are the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of New Mexico.”
Michigan’s attorney general also asked federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state’s presidential electors despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.