WASHINGTON — New Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a GOP county commission to certify primary election results after the panel refused to do so, citing concerns with voting machines.
Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon issued an order compelling the Otero County Commission to certify the results of its June 7 election by Friday.
The order came a day after New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said the GOP-controlled commission was "appeasing unfounded conspiracy theories and potentially nullifying the votes of every Otero County voter who participated in the primary."
In a 19-page filing, Toulouse Oliver had asked that the state Supreme Court order the county commission to certify primary election results in Otero County, whose southern line is near the U.S.-Mexico border.
"At the meeting they identified no deficiency in the election results, but rather made unsubstantiated claims about the voting systems in use throughout the state," Toulouse Oliver wrote.
Toulouse Oliver on Wednesday applauded the high court's order.
“The voters and candidates of Otero County can now be assured that their voices will be heard in full,” she said in a statement. “Though it was sad to see the Commission give in to discredited conspiracy theories and try to halt the legal process of election certification, it’s encouraging to know that the rule of law prevailed and that the checks and balances in our system of government remain strong.”
The commission held a meeting Monday, in which members were presented with the election results by County Clerk Robyn Holmes and were supposed to certify them. Holmes "presented the results of the canvass, found no discrepancies in the results, and recommended approval to certify the canvass report," Toulouse Oliver said.
But the commission decided against doing so. Instead, each member expressed concern with whether the results were accurate and whether the voting machines used could be trusted. They use machines made by Dominion, according to the Associated Press, which former President Donald Trump spread baseless theories about in order to push his claims of a stolen election in 2020.
“I have huge concerns with the voting machines,” said Commissioner Vickie Marquardt, in yet another instance where Republican officials have questioned the validity of election results. “I do not trust these machines.”
Marquardt added that she feels like she would be “dishonest” if she certified the election results because the commission didn’t have the ability to “thoroughly check these things out,” in reference to the machines. The clerk, however, repeatedly emphasized that the county goes through a process to ensure the machines are reliable and work properly.
“As this Petition makes clear, the Canvassing Board has failed to undertake its statutory duty to approve the canvass report and certify the election,” Toulouse Oliver said to the court.
The other two commission members, Gerald Matherly and Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, also expressed concerns about the voting machines.
“Let somebody else certify it,” Griffin said during the meeting after the clerk made it clear that if the commission refused to certify the results, then it would be resolved through the courts.
Griffin was found guilty in March of trespassing on restricted grounds during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.