Otero County commissioners certify votes ten days after primary elections
In a two-to-one vote, commissioners in Otero County certified their votes from the June 7th primary during an emergency meeting.
It was scheduled after the county voted Monday not to certify, citing concerns over fraudulent voting with the machines used during the election.
Within the last few days, the New Mexico Supreme Court came to a unanimous decision, saying they must certify the votes by Friday. The state attorney general’s office also got involved and said if they didn’t certify, there would be legal consequences. Some of them include jail time, fines and losing their seat.
District 3 Commissioner Vickie Marquardt said Friday that, while she believes the county should have more authority in their elections, they have no choice but to certify.
“We can get fined, we can get imprisoned, we can get removed from office and then the governor replaces our seat,” Marquardt said. “So I feel like we can do the county more good remaining in our seat.”
District 1 Commissioner Gerald Matherly said that all of his questions and concerns were cleared up and that there wasn’t any voter fraud in the election.
Both Matherly and Marquardt voted ‘yes’ but District 2 Commissioner Couy Griffin voted ‘no’, saying even if there is no evidence, he would not be bullied by the state.
“My vote to remain a ‘no’ isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts,” Griffin clarified. “It’s only based on my gut and my gut feeling and my own intuition and that’s all I need to base my vote on the elections right there.”
All three commissioners did say they will fight for more authority in the voting process in the future.
Griffin, who also founded the political group Cowboys for Trump, was not at the meeting in-person but gave his vote over the phone. The commissioner was in Washington, D.C., facing a federal judge for sentencing regarding his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
Griffin was found guilty of trespassing on U.S. Capitol grounds and was fined $3,000; $500 in restitution; and given one year of supervised release. The judge also sentenced him to 14 days in prison but, because Griffin already spent 20 days before the trial, that will count as time served.