Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

During the June 9 Otero County Commission meeting, all three commissioners voted to remove all mail-in ballot boxes and remove all Dominion voting machines. The commission voted instead to move to hand-counted ballots only for all votes cast after the June 7 Primary Election.

Despite a setback last month in the “audit” when software company EchoMail canceled its election-auditing contract with the county, the volunteer group New Mexico Audit Force continued to push for an audit conducted by hand-picked auditors of their choosing. This, despite the fact the 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.

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.

New Mexico Audit Force tried to rally support among the GOP gubernatorial candidates for a statewide audit of the 2020 general election, in hopes of proving that former President Donald Trump actually won the election. While several candidates were in support of such an audit, GOP nominee Mark Ronchetti has avoided the topic, and has not pledged support of any audit. In the past, Ronchetti has conceded that Biden indeed won the election.

During the meeting, Clements advised the commission that they did not need to certify the results of the 2022 Primary Election since the election was conducted using the same machines and ballot boxes as the 2020 election. No word yet on whether the commission will order yet another audit on the 2022 primary.

Are Other Counties Next?

New Mexico Audit Force announced in their public Telegram chat room that they have a meeting in front of the Lincoln County Commission next week in the hopes of convincing the commission to remove ballot boxes and Dominion machines.

So what happens to the ballot boxes and Dominion voting machines? Technically, they are property of the state, and must be given back. The Paper. did not hear back from the Secretary of State’s Office as of press time when the machines and boxes will be removed and what oversight of hand-counted ballots would be included for the November election.