• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Otero County Commission votes to remove voting machines and ballot boxes

ByChad J. Johnson

Jun 10, 2022

At the June 9 Otero County Commission meeting, the three commissioners voted to remove all mail ballot boxes and remove all voting machines from the Dominion. The commission instead voted to switch to hand-counted ballots only for all votes cast after the June 7 primary election.

Despite a setback last month in “auditing” when software company EchoMail canceled its election audit contract with the county, the volunteer group New Mexico Audit Force continued to push for an auditor-led audit. handpicked of their choice. This, despite the fact that EchoMail received the contract from Otero County at the request of a volunteer citizen group called the New Mexico Audit Force. The group is led by former NMSU professor David Clements and his wife Erin Clements.

EchoMail received its first payment of $24,875 from Otero County in February, in accordance with the terms of the contract. On March 17, the House Congressional Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Otero County audit and the EchoMail contract. On the same day, EchoMail demanded that the balance of the contract be paid in full after handing over a 13-page document of charts and graphs with no real analysis. The county disputed the claim, saying it did not receive the services it paid for. On April 15, EchoMail returned $15,125 to the county and canceled the rest of the contract.

Legal documents show EchoMail maintained that it fulfilled its contract and found no voter fraud as a result of its services.

The New Mexico Audit Force tried to rally support from GOP gubernatorial candidates for a statewide audit of the 2020 general election, hoping to prove that former President Donald Trump had actually won the elections. While several candidates were in favor of such an audit, GOP candidate Mark Ronchetti avoided the topic and did not commit to supporting any audit. In the past, Ronchetti has admitted that Biden did indeed win the election.

During the meeting, Clements informed the commission that they did not need to certify the results of the 2022 primary election since the election was conducted using the same machines and ballot boxes as the election of 2020. It is not yet clear whether the commission will order another audit of the 2022 primary.

Are the other counties next?

The New Mexico Audit Force announced in its Telegram public chat room that it has a meeting before the Lincoln County Commission next week in hopes of convincing the commission to remove the ballot boxes and machines from the Dominion.

So what happens to the ballot boxes and voting machines of the Dominion? Technically, they are state property and must be returned. The paper. has not heard from the Secretary of State’s office as of press time when the machines and boxes will be removed and what monitoring of hand-counted ballots will be included for the November election.