Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

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The “audit” of the 2020 general election in Otero County is facing a setback. According to the Otero County Attorney RB Nichols, the software company EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county. EchoMail was given the contract by Otero County at the urging of a volunteer group of citizens called the New Mexico Audit Force. The group is led by former NMSU professor David Clements and his wife Erin Clements.

In January, the Otero County Commission approved an election audit contract of $49,750 with EchoMail. The EchoMail software has been used in other election audits such as the ones in Maricopa County, AZ, led by the Cyber Ninjas. Election officials in Maricopa disputed nearly every claim found in the audit.

Contract for Services Not Rendered

EchoMail received its first payment of $24,875 from Otero County in February per 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. That same day, EchoMail demanded that the balance of the contract be paid in full after turning in a 13-page document of charts and graphs with no actual analysis. The County disputed the claim, saying that they didn’t receive the services they paid for. On April 15, EchoMail returned $15,125 to the county and canceled the remainder of the contract.

Legal documents show that EchoMail contended that it had completed its contract and found no election fraud as a result of its services.

County Commissioner Couy Griffin has scheduled a special commission meeting on Monday, May 9 to discuss the audit — and to propose getting rid of voting machines in the county.

Questionable Donations

Since the cancellation of the contract, New Mexico Audit Force has been left to its own devices to complete the audit and analysis on its own. They are not contracted by the county, nor are they a registered business in the state of New Mexico.

According to the group’s Telegram chat group, New Mexico Audit Force says it has located qualified experts to complete and finish the analysis. Organizers of the group have said they are expanding the audit to several other counties. The purported experts have not been made public, nor has an expansion been presented to any other County Commissioners. There is a public meeting scheduled for May 20 in Truth or Consequences at the New Hope Revival Church with David Clements to talk about eliminating voting machines and election fraud.

While New Mexico Audit Force was never paid by the county to assist in conducting the audit, donations have been made to the group via the FightBack Foundation, a Christian crowdfunding site. At least $58,000 was raised to help the Otero County “audit.” FightBack is the same foundation that raised more than $600,000 for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of charges stemming from a fatal shooting in Kenosha, WI during a Black Lives Matter protest.

The Paper. reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office for comment on the Otero County “audit” and the alleged expansion by New Mexico Audit Force into other counties, but did not hear back as of press time.