RPNM AND PLAINTIFFS CLAIM SOME COUNTY CLERKS ARE PREVENTING POLL CHALLENGERS FROM PERFORMING DUTIES UNDER NEW LAW
ALBUQUERQUE, OCTOBER 26 — The Republican Party of New Mexico, NM House Minority Leader Jim Townsend, NM Senate Minority Leader Stu Ingle and four County Clerks have filed a lawsuit in the New Mexico Supreme Court, revealing that Republican poll challengers have been denied access to observe absentee ballot processing.
Under Senate Bill 4, which was passed during the June Special Session, County Clerks are required to verify that each and every received mailed ballot has the correct voter identification – a voter’s signature and the last four digits of their social security number.
More than a quarter of a million absentee ballots have already been returned by New Mexico voters, providing County Clerks with a near-impossible task of reviewing each ballot.
One of the rights guaranteed by law to poll challengers is the ability to act as a check and balance to a County Clerk’s determination of whether to accept or reject a ballot. Multiple counties have denied Republican poll challengers the right to perform their duties, taking absentee ballots behind closed doors and out of sight of the very people who elect them.
The Secretary of State has failed to ensure lawful and equal enforcement by counties of various election and absentee ballot procedures, violating verification and security standards.
“County Clerks are elected by the people to work for the people – and now some are working in the shadows, denying the public access to ensuring we have an honest election,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. “What are they hiding? What are they getting away with?”
The four County Clerks who joined in the legal action are Keith Manes of Lea County, Dave Kunko of Chaves County, Keith Riddle of Catron County, and Whitney Whittaker of Lincoln County.