by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 24, 2022) — In Part 1 of this series, The Post & Email provided an overview of an audit of the 2020 general election currently taking place in Otero County, NM which has been only minimally reported in the media, and only then in a negative light, with headlines describing the effort as one led by “conspiracy theorists.”
Critics, including New Mexico State Auditor Brian S. Colon, point to the fact that Otero County voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2020, therefore contending an audit is unnecessary.
On Friday The Post & Email interviewed two individuals who assumed leading roles in the effort, David and Erin Clements. Both believe it vital for all Americans to “fix 2020” in order to restore faith in the nation’s elections and as a result, attracted the attention of harassers, left-leaning media, state officials and, most recently, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight.
One issue over which voters voiced concern at county commission meetings both before and after 2020, Erin told us, was whether or not the Dominion voting machines utilized by the county yield reliable results and are vulnerable to tampering. A former prosecutor and law professor, David outlined those concerns at a January 13 county commission meeting (2:53:00) while presenting examples of questionable practices and results from Pennsylvania and Georgia’s 2020 elections.
Following the meeting, the commissioners approved the expenditure of approximately $50,000 to conduct a county-wide election audit consisting of a forensic machine examination, a door-to-door canvass and a review of all ballots cast.
On March 2, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a joint “risk advisory” reminding Otero County residents that their participation in the canvass is voluntary. “This activity has caught many Otero County residents off guard as they are being approached at their doorsteps by New Mexico Audit Force canvassers who are not employed by Otero County, yet who are claiming to be representatives of the county,” the two elected officials contended. “According to the Otero County Attorney, these canvassers have not been subjected to any background checks and according to Erin Clements, director of the New Mexico Audit force, when speaking to the Otero County Commission, ‘We would introduce ourselves as “New Mexico Audit Force” and not mention the county at all.’ There are estimated to be about 60 canvassers currently in Otero County.”
In response, Erin told us, “They’re hanging up on that word of being ’employed’ by the county, and they call us ‘vigilantes’ not authorized by the county, but at the same time, they accuse us of claiming that we are employed by the county. No one has said that; in all our training documents, we’re very clear: we start off all of our training with our canvassers that you introduce yourself as a volunteer. All our name tags say ‘Volunteer’ on them.”
A search at the secretary of state’s website Wednesday morning for the press release, which this writer read there on Monday, yielded the title, media contact and a brief lead-in but resulted in a crashed computer when access to the press release was attempted. Later on Wednesday, entering key terms from the release as well as the date yielded no results, but the press release reappeared Thursday.
The local press appears to have covered the audit very little, if at all, but provided widespread reportage of Toulouse Oliver and Banderas’s joint statement. On March 3, NM Political Report wrote that on Wednesday, March 2:
The state’s top elections official and top lawyer issued a warning over an election “audit” taking place in Otero County, telling residents they are under no obligation to participate in the audit or provide any information.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, in a call with media members on Wednesday, referred to the effort as a “vigilante audit” and said “there is nothing that is legitimate about this process in my point of view.”
It came to light after a TikTok video by an Otero County voter received lots of attention when she highlighted a visit from a group called the New Mexico Audit Force.
Other local media coverage appeared to indicate that “a press conference” with the same information took place on Thursday, March 3.
The Other Side of the Story
For many months, David Clements, a former prosecutor and New Mexico State University associate law professor, has expressed on his Telegram channel what he believes is the sole manner by which U.S. elections can again be trusted: a return to paper ballots hand-counted by each voting precinct.
Terminated from his position at the university last fall for refusing to adhere to its COVID-19 mandates, Clements now operates a Rumble channel and has been a frequent guest speaker at events on the issue of election integrity.
His wife, Erin, holds two degrees in the field of Engineering: one in Civil and the other in Structural. Both are volunteering their time to the Otero County audit, although months before, Erin said, she began researching and gathering data on New Mexico’s elections as well as networking with other concerned citizens across the country.
One of the catalysts for the audit, Erin told us last Friday, was her 261-page report issued in October and titled, “Summary of Questionable Practices and Evidence of Election Fraud in New Mexico” contending, “Based on a comprehensive investigation and analysis of voter data, registration trends, and available election documentation provided by state and county election officials, it is clear that New Mexico votes were fraudulently manipulated through a systematic and controlled effort. The amount of systemic fraud revealed by this investigation can only be described as massive in scope” (p. 6).
Earlier this month on Telegram, which David said serves as “a diary” of sorts, he offered what he believes is the way to change local voting systems. “Attend your next county commission meeting. Organize and get others to attend. Hundreds. Use the time for public comment over rigged cheat machines…Fix your county. Fix your country.”
Last week, several Western counties opted to do away with voting machines and revert to paper ballots, which Clements highlighted in his timeline and the media reported, albeit at times by labeling proponents of the move “conspiracy theorists.”
Along with volunteering their time, the Clementses detailed to The Post & Email the consistent opposition they have faced from state officials who claim it to be a waste of taxpayer money and self-serving exercise, as in Colon’s case; one which could “intimidate” voters, according to Toulouse Oliver and Balderas; and in the form of frequent threats they have received by text, email and phone calls.
And Now Congress?
On March 17, the national media weighed in after the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight sent an accusatory letter, provided to NBC News, to EchoMail, a contractor performing the ballot examination portion of the audit. “House Oversight panel launches investigation into New Mexico ‘Audit Force,’” the outlet splashed across its page early that morning bearing the subtitle, “Otero County is spending nearly $50,000 on an Arizona-style partisan ballot review of votes cast in 2020,” referencing the 2020 election audit conducted last year in Maricopa County, AZ.
In the letter, chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12) voiced numerous objections to the audit, alleging possible violations of federal voting laws, and requesting that EchoMail provide substantial documentation of its involvement, including “All internal and external communications regarding the Otero County ‘audit’ or canvass…”; all communications with the Clementses, Otero County commissioners, several private citizens, and “any individual associated with the New Mexico Audit Force”; all “training” materials; “volunteer outreach and recruiting materials”; a copy of the questionnaire canvassers are utilizing; funding sources, including individuals’ names and “the date of the donation”; documentation of EchoMail’s board of directors and other parties with an interest in the company; and “communications with funders of the election ‘audit’ in Maricopa County, Arizona,” among other items.
The letter was signed by Maloney and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD8), who acted as an impeachment manager for the House’s second attempt to not only impeach, but also censure President Donald Trump even after he left office on January 20, 2021.
The article now states Toulouse Oliver “raised questions about whether the group leaders were being paid for their canvassing,” which is followed by Erin’s response that “no one in the New Mexico Audit Force is being paid,” with additional comment from Erin.
David’s response to the NBC article called out not only the media, but also the Oversight Committee, Colon, Toulouse Oliver and Balderas for “trying to keep New Mexicans from verifying the accuracy of their voter rolls.”
The Post & Email asked the Clementses why they believe public officials and now a congressional committee appear to be attempting to stop the audit, a question David himself posed. “Why in the world are House Democrats so worried about an audit in a Trump stronghold?” he wrote on Telegram prior to our raising the question.
In response to The Post & Email, he replied, “Well, simply put, because it reveals fraud.”
“No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud…”?
On the same day NBC released its article reporting there is “no evidence of widespread voter fraud anywhere in the U.S.,” Speaker of the Wisconsin House of Representatives Robin Vos acknowledged “widespread fraud” in the state’s 2020 election as a result of reports issued by Special Counsel Michael Gableman, a retired state supreme court judge commissioned by the legislature to investigate claims of fraud.
Despite the evidence, Wisconsin media continues to insist that “no evidence of widespread fraud” exists, while Gov. Tony Evers has termed the investigation “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
In light of the findings in Wisconsin, David was critical of the “US Congress” for failing to “get their act together and partner with the American people on finally exposing the coup d’état that took place November 3, 2020.”
Erin’s response to NBC’s claim on Telegram was, “I could have sworn that just yesterday, the majority leader of the Wisconsin legislature admitted on camera that there was widespread election fraud. I wonder if that’s why now the U.S. Congress is falling all over itself to throw shade at the little audit happening now in Otero County?”
During the course of his investigation, which is not yet complete, Gableman identified multiple violations of law stemming from policies adopted by the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) as well as individuals working for the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which received hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg prior to the 2020 election.
On Monday, Gableman was interviewed by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his findings.
The funds were dispersed to localities across the country with the reported intent to “promote safe and reliable voting” during the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, Zuckerberg’s alleged role in impacting the election was reported by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in a review completed by The Amistad Project.
CTCL funds made their way to New Mexico, Erin told us, although she said her public information request submitted to Colon’s office for evidence of any investigation into how the funds were appropriated yielded a response indicating no documentation exists.
In January, the election-integrity organization TruetheVote announced it had provided evidence to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to open an investigation into allegations of ballot-harvesting which is ongoing. According to Breitbart News, TTV supplied evidence of “242 people making visits to drop boxes to dump mail-in ballots” in Georgia.
At the same time, TTV said it possessed similar evidence from five other states of similar ballot-harvesting activity.
Next month filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza plans to release a new documentary, “2000mules,” which he states shows evidence obtained from TTV of individuals “making multiple ballot drops, leaving no fingerprints, snapping photos to get paid, a coordinated ring of illegal harvesting in all the key states where the election was decided.”
On Saturday, Gableman and Clements will speak at an event in southern Utah aimed at exposing voting irregularities.
The Threats are Real
Of the harassment and threats they have received over the course of the audit, on March 9, David wrote, “There have been unsubstantiated claims of voter intimidation reported by the news, that none of the complainants have been willing to leave their names with law enforcement. Maybe because they aren’t real. On the other hand, my wife has received at least 2 dozen threats with no reporting by the media…”
At the same time, Clements reported that the ballot-imaging component of the audit was completed.
David indicated that “local political operatives” are responsible for “real threats and intimidation” on which the local media will continue its silence.
Where Is the Tik-Tok Video?
While the Tik-Tok video the media reported as having expressed a complaint about the canvassers appears to have been removed, Erin detailed for us how the incident occurred and the fallout to her personally.
One of our canvassers unfortunately knocked on the door of someone with a Tik-Tok channel and introduced themselves as they normally do. The Tik-Tokker actually agreed to participate in the voluntary survey. You can’t hear what the canvassers are saying, but you can hear her yelling at them, “So you represent the commissioners?” trying to get them to say something that they didn’t say. But it’s odd that she would have gone ahead and completed the survey. In fact, she said that one of the people listed at her address doesn’t live there and hasn’t lived there for years. Even her own answers to the survey justify what we’re doing because there are a whole bunch of people on the rolls that are way out of date.
So she did the Tik-Tok video, and in the video she put an email up that had been submitted to the county attorney under a fake name a couple of days before. This person was asking if we do background checks on our canvassers. The attorney reached out to me and asked the question, and I answered the question and then I said, “If this community member has any issues, you can give them my number and I’m happy to be very transparent about our process.”
So he gave her my number, and it was all under a fake name on her part, because now we know who she is. She called me the next day under a different fake name and asked if we’re doing background checks on our people. That’s not required; we always go in pairs; we know our volunteer community and people are already vetted.
That email ended up in the Tik-Tok video with my name and number in it. Within a few hours of her posting it, I started getting phone calls in the middle of the night on a Saturday night and continued every couple hours for about a week, then they kind-of tapered off. I probably got three dozen different contacts, whether by email, text or phone calls. Some of them were death threats. With the death threats, I asked the sheriff if he could trace the numbers. In the meantime, I have other people concerned about me, too, who have access to tools to trace numbers, and we were able to determine where the email came from that ended up in that Tik-Tok video. It was a Democrat candidate in Otero County who is known for going anywhere conservatives are gathered and causes trouble.
The Post & Email asked if a law-enforcement investigation is under way into the perpetrator, to which she replied:
I gave everything to law enforcement and he did an investigation. I told him where the email originated; we knew the woman’s name who did the Tik-Tok video because we had canvassed her, so I was able to find the form and what she said about her address and name. So I gave all that to the sergeant who was doing the investigation. We called the sheriff himself and he said he was going to turn it over to the FBI also because a lot of the numbers were coming from out of state.
I recently got an email where the sergeant said he was finishing his report and was going to give it to the district attorney, and I told him I want to follow up on this.
Public Records Sought
As part of its due diligence, under New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act, The Post & Email has submitted requests to the offices of the secretary of state and state auditor for documentation in all formats of the complaints they publicly cited as stemming from the audit. We also contacted the media representative for Attorney General Balderas to request details about the complaints NBC News claimed it received when quoting Toulouse Oliver.
As of this writing, we have received no responses.
The Post & Email will expound further on the Otero County audit in Part 3.