Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico and Las Cruces mayoral candidate Mike Tellez have filed suit against New Mexico’s Secretary of State, the Dona Ana County Clerk and the County’s Absent Voter Precinct Board. The RPNM and Tellez claim the defendants are ignoring a 2019 law that requires absentee voters to provide their name, address and date of birth.
The lawsuit charges that The AVPB had been instructed by the County Clerk, who herself was acting on the advice of the Secretary of State Maggie Oliver, to count the ballots despite at least one of the three qualifications missing. The suit claims the defendants did nothing to fix this problem.
The Republican Party and Tellez are asking the court for an injunction to stop the counting of absentee ballots. The RPNM has learned at least 70 of these ballots have at least one of the three necessary pieces of information missing. The Plaintiffs want the ballots sequestered until a ruling.
The Party is also asking for a declaratory judgment to clarify the meaning of the 2019 changes to the statute. It wants the court to set a uniform statewide standard for qualifying and counting absentee votes for this non-partisan election and future ones. While this local election is non-partisan, there are many registered GOP voters in Dona Ana County.
“What’s happening in Dona Ana County is wrong and setting a bad precedent for future elections. Our Party must stand up to this. People who vote illegally are hurting the integrity of the system. We as a Party must raise a red flag when we see people ignoring voting laws,” said Steve Pearce, RPNM Chairman. “It’s our duty to call on the State to fix these problems.”