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New Mexico secretary of state sues county commission over refusal to certify primary results

The action by the Otero County Commission is one of the first examples of a county blocking the certification of results in the 2022 election cycle, and Oliver, a Democrat, warned of the potential for similar moves in other New Mexico communities.

In a statement, Oliver said the Otero County Commissioners were “appeasing unfounded conspiracy theories and potentially nullifying the votes of every Otero County voter who participated in the primary” with their action.

On Monday, the commissioners — meeting as a county canvassing board — declined to certify the results after repeatedly raising questions about the vote-tallying process.

“I have huge concerns with these voting machines,” one commissioner, Vickie Marquardt, said during the meeting. “I really do. I just don’t think in my heart that they can’t be manipulated.”

“I do not trust these machines,” she added. “I want Otero County to have a fair election for everybody.”

Dominion machines have been the subject of conspiracy theories since the 2020 election from people who subscribe to former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about election fraud. The company has filed several defamation lawsuits.

County-level certification of the primary election results is one of the steps required for candidates to proceed to the general election in November.

In her filing with the state Supreme Court, Oliver warned that other New Mexico counties also may balk at certifying their primary results in the days ahead, citing a “statewide attempt to influence other county canvassing boards.”

“We assume other counties will be noncompliant with this provision which jeopardizes the general election ballot for all candidates,” the filing said.

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