Officials in Otero County, New Mexico, voted to certify primary election results Friday in compliance with a state Supreme Court order after refusing to do so, citing concerns about voting machines.

In a 2-1 vote, the Republican-led commission certified the county’s results from the June 7 primary. One of the commissioners, Vickie Marquardt, said she voted to certify out of fear of criminal charges and possible jail time.

“The New Mexico Supreme Court, the Democrat-controlled state legislature, and the Democrat-controlled Secretary of State and Attorney General will not allow us to withhold approval pending an investigation. Instead, they are charging this commission to pass the bill under threat of criminal charges and jail time,” Marquardt said in remarks Friday. “I will be of no use to the residents of Otero County from jail or if I am removed from office.”

While there is no evidence of any issues with the voting process in this month’s election, commissioners have protested the use of equipment from Dominion Voting Systems, perpetuating conspiracy theories that have emerged from the 2020 election.

The three commissioners first refused to certify the results of Monday’s primary, citing discredited claims about Dominion’s voting machines. The next day, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver tried to force the commission to certify, saying there was no evidence to support claims questioning the accuracy, and on Wednesday the state Supreme Court ordered the panel to certify the results by Friday.

“We dodged a bullet here,” Toulouse Oliver told NBC News on Friday night, adding that state laws and court action prevented “the system from completely collapsing.”

She said the state Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, should consider more ways to protect elections from “rogue” officials.

“The reality is that if the commission had stood their ground today and defied a court order and defied the law, they would have ended up completely disenfranchising every voter who came out in their county and not seeing their candidates make it to the ballot.” Generals,” she said. “We will have to take some type of affirmative action to establish an alternative process if necessary.”

Otero County has about 67,000 residents and borders Texas.

Commissioner Couy Griffin spoke at the meeting by phone after appearing in Washington, DC, earlier in the day for a sentencing hearing following his conviction in March for breaking and entering the US Capitol during the January 6 riots. . It was the only vote against certification on Friday.

“All we wanted to do was look at the technology inside the Dominion machines to make sure they didn’t have the modems connected to the Internet and count the ballots by hand,” Griffin said.

The Otero County commission previously authorized an Arizona-style partisan ballot review of the 2020 election, which included a door-to-door “audit force.” It triggered an investigation in March by a congressional committee for possible violations of federal law.

In a statement Friday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said the investigation of such audits was “out of concern that they would undermine the integrity of our elections.” .

The commissioners’ subsequent refusal to certify the results of the 2022 primary is “the inevitable result of the GOP’s cynical embrace of the Big Lie,” Maloney said. “The Oversight Committee will continue to focus on the threat that election lies pose to our democracy.”




Reference-www.nbcnews.com

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