Republican-led counties urge election reform in NM - Albuquerque Journal

Republican-led counties urge election reform in NM

People line up for early voting at Holly Plaza Shopping Center in Albuquerque on Oct. 17, 2020. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – County boards led by Republicans are urging New Mexico legislators to require photo identification at polling locations, approve new procedures for purging voter registration rolls and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes that aren’t supervised directly by people.

The Otero County Commission in southern New Mexico on Thursday endorsed a resolution on a 3-0 vote that advocates for changes to the state election code.

Sandoval County commissioners approved a nearly identical resolution in June after an outpouring of public anger over election procedures in the state’s June 7 primary.

Residents of both counties have questioned the accuracy of election results and given voice to unfounded conspiracy theories about voting systems that have rippled across the country since former President Donald Trump lost reelection in 2020.

Otero County’s three county commissioners initially refused to certify the results of the June 7 primary election while expressing general concerns about vote-counting machines. The board relented on a 2-1 vote under pressure from the state Supreme Court and the attorney general.

Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin on Thursday unsuccessfully sought approval of a more aggressive resolution that threatened to refuse certification in the November general election if state lawmakers didn’t allow ballots to be counted by hand. Commissioners Gerald Matherly and Vickie Marquardt voted against that approach.

Otero County Commission meetings have become a frequent forum for a local review of the 2020 election by David Clements, a lawyer who has gained prominence in conservative circles, as he raises conspiracy theories and false claims about the last presidential election.

The Legislature’s next regularly scheduled session starts in January 2023. A variety of election reforms stalled in the Democratic-led Legislature earlier this year.

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