Answered by Secy. of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) & Mayna Erika Myers (Lib) Audrey Trujillo (R) did not respond.
Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) outlaws any acts that are objectively likely to intimidate voters. Does a false “auditor” volunteer coming to their doors and asking them how they voted qualify as intimidating?
Toulouse Oliver: Yes. I believe it can qualify as intimidating. From what I’ve seen, the people going door-to-door are mischaracterizing themselves as employees of the county and, in effect, presenting themselves as individuals of authority. That creates a situation where people believe government officials are coming to their door to ask them personal questions on their voting history – that’s an act of intimidation. The “audit” they’re conducting is nothing more than a review of public records, and so to go out of their way to speak to citizens on their doorstep seems like an act of intimidation since it serves no other obvious purpose. At best, it’s meant to create doubt in the election process. At worst, it’s meant to intimidate voters by discouraging them from voting in the future.
Myers: Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) outlaws any acts that are objectively likely to intimidate voters. Does a false “auditor” volunteer coming to their doors and asking them how they voted qualify as intimidating? I feel that asking a question after the vote is not an intimidating act.
Is using taxpayer money to fund fake auditing legal? Should it be?
Toulouse Oliver: This “audit” was commissioned by the County Commission and, in my mind, they have the right to do that. I do, however, believe there should be more safeguards in place to ensure counties are not wasting taxpayer dollars on obviously political projects like this. That’s why I support the State Auditor’s investigation into this project, because I do believe it is wasting taxpayer money to reach a political end.
Myers: No. And it should never be. We should not be using tax payer dollars for this in the first place.
Are you in favor of national auditing of presidential elections?
Toulouse Oliver: I think one of the genius characteristics of our election system in the U.S. is its decentralization. For the most part, counties are responsible for administering their own elections while state governments are responsible for certifying those elections and submitting the results to the U.S. Senate. As it relates to audits, this decentralized feature does two things: it demonstrates how these claims of “massive voter fraud” are virtually impossible and it prevents a “national audit” of presidential elections equally impossible. That being said, I believe each state has its own right to create its own robust post-election procedures to ensure the integrity of their elections. In New Mexico, we’ve been ahead of the game. We transitioned back to paper ballots following the 2004 election and have gold-standard post-election canvasses and audits written into state statute that other states have used as a model.
Who is permitted in the polling place?
Toulouse Oliver: Poll officials and voters engaged in the act of voting may be in a polling location at any time that it is open. New Mexico state laws also allow for poll watchers and poll challengers in polling places. A registered voter in the county, designated by a county party chairperson and certified by the Secretary of State may be in the polling location and may *only* engage in certain types of observational activities, but may not in any way impede the election process. If a poll watcher or challenger does not follow the statute or instructions of the presiding judge of the polling location, they may be removed. Official election observers may also be inside a polling location – these are individuals designated by officially registered election-related organizations, academic entities, or foreign governments engaged in election observation.
Myers: A representative from each party. I would also add any one should be. Transparency is key to free and open elections.
Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election?
Toulouse Oliver: I know Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.
Myers: Yes the electoral college did their duty.
Are you committed to full and fair access to voting for all eligible New Mexicans?
Toulouse Oliver: Yes. My record of expanding ballot access both on the county and state level speaks for itself.
Do you think Election Day should be a state holiday? A national one?
Toulouse Oliver: Yes. I think it should be a national and state holiday. I advocated for this during the 2022 New Mexico Legislative session.
Myers: Yes and yes.
What is your personal-favorite outdoor activity?
Toulouse Oliver: I love skiing in winter with my son Max, who’s a ski racer with the Taos Ski Valley Winter Sports Team, and swimming in summer! I am a beach girl living in a landlocked state but love an outdoor pool or lake during a New Mexico summer. We are lucky to live in a place where there is so much natural beauty and so many ways to access the outdoors.
Myers: Playing with my kids on a playground.
These candidates did not respond to The Paper.’s requests for answers to the questionnaire for Secretary of State: Audrey Trujillo (R)