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Voter fraud claims not new in New Mexico

Brittany Costello
January 31, 2017 07:05 AM

President Donald Trump is calling for a major probe into what he claims was voter fraud. He believes many illegal immigrants voted in the election, costing him the popular vote.

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About 10 years ago, similar claims had a ripple effect in New Mexico.

U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was dismissed years ago over claims he wasn’t properly handling voter fraud cases in New Mexico. Just like back then, officials say there is no real evidence that it's even happening.

“We really cannot find any fraud,” said Lonna Atkeson, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico. “You know, there's an occasional voter registration issue. For example, here in New Mexico, someone registered their dog but that dog didn’t vote. He didn't have any ID.”

Last Wednesday, Trump tweeted he “will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, and those who are illegal ....”

Atkeson said this is an allegation that has been brought up and investigated time after time.

“Historically we've been trying to look for fraud since 2000 very, very systematically since the elections in 2000.”

In 2006, there were allegations of voter fraud in New Mexico.

“There were questions about fraud and the DOJ – the Department of Justice – was actively pursuing fraud cases in the Republican administration and they just couldn't find any, and there was a huge breakdown here in New Mexico over this issue," Atkeson said.

So much so that Iglesias was fired. Then-U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson and then-Sen. Pete Domenici called Iglesias asking about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case. Whether or not he would indict before the November election, he was asked to resign.

But Atkeson said evidence of massive voter fraud was never found.

“This could backfire. There could be potential backfire,” she said.

Last week, Tom Joles spoke with then-Secretary of State Brad Winter about the issue

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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