Otero County Commission Certifies Election While Couy Griffin Paces on Horseback Outside in Protest

Image Couy Griffin Protest Election Certification on Hordeback

The Otero County, New Mexico Board of Commissioners consisting of 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat, unanimously voted to certify the canvass of the 2022 general election results for Otero County Nov. 15.

The meeting began with Republican County Clerk Robyn Holmes explaining the process, validation and any issues discovered. She reassured the commissioners that every went very well. She said there were some issues with a few of the scanners on the machines needing repeatedly cleaned because some citizens would not use the fast drying pens provided by her office and opted to use their own. The result was some machines needed cleaning often.

Holmes did point to a hand tally done on a ballot cast at the Civic Center as a result of a "spoiled ballot" in which the voter did not wish to stay and redo a ballot, and to a jammed machine at the Fairgrounds which required the staff to do maintenance on the machine.

None of these issues, Holmes said, affected the ballot count or the outcomes of the elections in which 47% of the registered population turned out to vote. 

A group of 3 election conspiracy theorists spoke and read from the same prepared statement challenging the legitimacy of the election based on a reported anomaly at the state level with a data dump. There is no proof of any negative impact at the state level and the state reported  the numbers Otero County provided per Ms. Holmes.

Ms Holmes stood firm her staff did great, the audits went well and that Otero County has no integrity issues.

Fellow Republican Commissioner Elect Amy Barela concurred with Ms Holmes. 
"Here in Otero County, specifically, we had a challenger at the absentee board count and found no problems with that and the process," Barela said. "Our challenger verifies that our county clerk's office verified every single absentee ballots and we can feel confident about that."

Even with those assurances chair of the Commission Vickie Marquardt said she continued to believe that elections were being tampered with nationwide.

"If we don't certify we've been down this road before... and if that happens the governor gets to replace us," Marquardt said. "I feel like someone is coming after us no matter the way we go."

Holmes asked Marquardt several times what specific issues she found with the canvass that would cause her to doubt the outcomes or vote for non-certification. Marquardt finally answered: "Honestly, I don't have a reason for not certifying Otero County elections. I think you guys do a good job in your office."

Marquardt told the Alamogordo Daily News she "felt bad" that the Commission was unable to deliver on former promises to enforce requirements in a resolution passed earlier this year that all ballots cast in the county be hand counted and that Dominion branded voting machines not be used in the general election.

The lone Democrat on the Commission Stephanie DuBois told the Alamogordo Daily News,  she had confidence in the work done by Holmes' office.

"I have no problem certifying the election because I know it's not our protocol and that's the way New Mexico was set up," DuBois said.

Meanwhile outside then Commissioner Building Couy Griffin pranced around New York Avenue and other area streets in protest carrying a flag that read “we the people.”

The meeting was civil with Couy absent outside on horseback as the lone individual making his statement. Inside Marquardt firmly began the meeting with a warning of civility. The individual she ejected from the last meeting  Matt Crecelius was allowed back into this meeting and spoke civil in public comments.

After about an hour of civil sometimes scripted public dialog the Commission called the question and it passed unanimously.

The election is now done and then at 9 pm EST, before this national election count is even concluded Donald J Trump from Florida announced his bid to run a 3rd time for President. Thus when we thought the drama of elections were almost behind us and we could recover from politics with family over the holidays the next cycle officially kicked off. Though the road will be long, it’s sure to be entertaining to those that follow politics and a bigger turn off to those annoyed by the antics.

In the  US House of Representatives Republicans nominated Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to be Speaker in a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday after he faced a last-minute protest challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), a former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

McCarthy won easily, 188 to 31, in the internal conference meeting. But in the eyes of Biggs and his supporters, the goal was merely to demonstrate that McCarthy lacks the support to seize the gavel when the full House meets to choose the Speaker early next year.

The exact size of the slimmer-than-expected majority will have major implications for the rest of McCarthy’s path to the gavel, since he will be able to spare only a handful of defectors on the House floor. Rules changes and committee assignments may be among the bargaining chips McCarthy uses to woo opponents back to his side before Jan. 3.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a Freedom Caucus member who nominated Biggs for Speaker during the conference meeting on Tuesday, said that his position on McCarthy’s chances at becoming Speaker remained unchanged after Tuesday’s nomination.

“No one has 218 (or close, as needed). We have to sit down and establish the fundamental changes needed,” Roy said in a statement.

In a press conference, McCarthy said he thinks he will have the votes by January to become Speaker, pointing out that former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) similarly fell short of 218 votes in their internal party nominations before later securing the Speakership on the House floor. But he acknowledged it could be tough.

“Look, we have our work cut out for us. We’ve got to have a small majority. We’ve got to listen to everybody in our conference,” McCarthy said.

And finally in New Mexico there is a call by the moderate wing of the Republican Party to replace chairman Steve Pearce who underperformed in maintaining Yvette Herrell’s seat and only gained additional seat in the state legislature. The Red wave that was promised did not materialize in New Mexico and moderate Republicans are calling for new leadership to bring the party back to “bread and butter issues” in order to make inroads in 2024. Otero County has deep connections to Pierce via Rocky Galacinni and the Representative Elect for District 51. This is an evolving story. 

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