by Sharon Rondeau

(Mar. 29, 2022) — Our previous articles featuring an interview with David and Erin Clements, who spearheaded an audit of the 2020 election in Otero County, NM amid considerable opposition from state-level officials, reported both the local and national media as denigrating the effort as “partisan,” a “singular obsession,” a “farce,” and conducted by “a Telegram group that traffics in conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.”

However, the media did not inquire into the reasons behind the audit and continues to falsely claim that evidence of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election is nonexistent.

Daily on his Telegram channel, David provides updates on the audit as well as announcements of events at which he has been asked to speak on the subject of election integrity and his commitment to “Fix 2020.”

Regarding 2020, voting irregularities were recently identified by the non-profit TruetheVote to a committee of the Wisconsin legislature; by a special counsel commissioned by the legislature to investigate claims of widespread fraud which were affirmed in various forms as well as by the Racine County sheriff; and results from Georgia and Pennsylvania where an experienced analyst found anomalies not explained by standard voting processes.

Following the 2020 election, which former President Donald Trump continues to claim he won were it not for fraud, dozens of citizens in multiple states testified to legislative committees as to the violations of election law they alleged witnessing.

The $50,000 Otero County audit expenditure was approved by County Commissioners Gerald Matherly, Couy Griffin and Vickie Marquardt at the conclusion of a public meeting held on January 13, 2022 following presentations from the Clementses and other citizens who harbored doubts about the accuracy of the county’s election returns resulting from the use of electronic voting machines and other concerns.

The audit consists of three parts, Erin, an engineer by profession, told The Post & Email in a March 18 interview: counting the ballots; forensic examination of county voting machines; and a door-to-door canvass to be completed by “New Mexico Audit Force” volunteers who Erin is coordinating.

Critics of the endeavor, including State Auditor Brian S. Colon, have pointed to the fact that Otero County voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump in 2020 and that consequently, the audit is an unnecessary expenditure worthy of a “special investigation.”

In a January 28 interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Colon pledged to hold any wrongdoers “accountable” in an interview devoid of any counterpoint.

“Complaints” submitted to Colon’s office about alleged government waste, fraud or abuse, including those filed in connection with the audit, are not public records releasable under New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), Records Custodian Bernadet Martinez told us in an email response to a records request made March 22.

“Intimidation” of Whom?

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) has claimed in public statements that the canvass could “have a very intimidating effect” on residents, NBC News reported March 17. “The Secretary of State’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General take reports of voter intimidation and harassment seriously,” Oliver wrote in a March 2 joint press release with Attorney General Hector Balderas concerning the canvass. “If you or someone you know has been harassed or intimidated during this ongoing canvassing in Otero County, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-844-255-9210 or file a complaint online through the Attorney General’s website.”

Oliver reportedly claimed to a March 16 session with reporters that during canvassing, Otero County residents are “being asked very personal questions about their marital status, personal, private information that the public doesn’t have access to, how they voted — which literally nobody but the voter can or should know unless they want to share that information,” a claim the Clementses dispute.

Rather than “intimidation” of those canvassed, Erin said, she perceives state officials have attempted to “intimidate” her and fellow canvassers using the press. “The only person they have propped up as a witness to intimidation is this person with the Tik-Tok video who, in fact, agreed to participate in the survey,” Erin said, referring to a woman who posted a video, apparently no longer available online, with what she claimed was evidence of canvassers identifying themselves as commissioners’ “representatives” rather than “volunteers.”

The woman submitted her “complaint” to the county attorney under “a fake name,” Erin told us, and is well-known in the community. The video, which contained Erin’s email address and phone number, resulted in her (Erin) receiving death threats, she said. The Tik-Tokker “was a Democrat candidate in Otero County who is known for going anywhere conservatives are gathered and causes trouble,” Erin said.

In regard to Oliver’s claims of multiple complaints, Erin contended “there is no factual evidence she provides. No one has contacted the sheriff.” “In fact,” she said, “we called Couy Griffin, the county commissioner, to let him know what’s going on. He had received a death threat through email maybe a couple weeks before and gave it to the sheriff, who found it was coming from Iowa or somewhere and wasn’t a credible threat. But Couy told me that he told the sheriff, ‘Anyone who calls to complain I will refer to you’ [meaning Erin] ‘and we will investigate any complaints,’ and not one person has actually called the sheriff. This fabricated fake that the secretary of state is propping up as though it’s credible when no none has called the sheriff…the only people who have had to call the sheriff are Couy and me.”

Regarding the Tik-Tokker, “Something else happened with that woman,” Erin said. “She ran into some of our canvassers at the grocery store and started yelling at them in public, just accosting them. So the only intimidation has happened to the team that’s doing the audit, and not the other way around.”

Another example of volunteers having encountered “intimidation,” Erin said, was a day on which the paper ballots were scanned, with observers permitted outside of a rope setting off the operational area.

“We did the scanning of the paper ballots last week,” Erin told us on March 18, “and there was a guy who showed up who has a blog who has been one of those harassing our canvassers online. The under-sheriff was there to oversee the process. I gave him a list of everybody who had been trained as volunteers to help with paper-scanning. The county clerk had her staff, and she had asked five Democrat volunteers to observe and watch us, and they were sort-of in charge. If they saw something they didn’t like, we had to fix it. We did whatever they said. There was a list of people allowed to go behind the rope and there was an area where people could come and watch us work.”

“So the sheriff announced, ‘You cannot come behind the rope unless you’re on my list, and I’ll check you in as you come in.’ But this guy who has been harassing people went behind the rope right after the sheriff said that and was filming us and taking pictures. David had to go up there and say, ‘You’re not supposed to be back there’ since you’re not a volunteer.'”

“Did he post it on Twitter or YouTube?” The Post & Email asked.

“I think he did,” Erin replied. “I don’t know what his account is, but there were two deputies there throughout the day and they said they were monitoring his social-media account, so they knew who he was.”

“We Are Finding Fraud…”

The Post & Email asked Erin why she believes the media, state officials and some locals are stridently opposed to the audit, citing Otero County’s majority vote for Trump over Joe Biden. “It’s just bizarre that they’re this worried about a county,” she said. “We are finding fraud in some of the canvass, but we don’t believe any races will be flipped. As far as who the county went for in the presidential or senatorial election, we’re not expecting any race to change. The county is so small, about 25,000 votes. It’s a small part of the state database; what are they so worried about?”

“One of the things the secretary of state said is that she has multiple complaints,” Erin continued. “We have more than 50 volunteers, which is far larger than the number of complaints she has, and she can’t point to any people in the state who have complained outside of the Tik-Tok girl.”

“I’m willing to bet money that virtually all of those complaints aren’t from Otero,” David, who is an attorney, then told us. “The salient point is how can you have a voice about intimidation if you weren’t there and experienced it or weren’t there to observe it? There are really no complaints which could have been emailed from Kansas; all you get is the headline of ’50 complaints.’ Not all complaints are equal.”

“We had a handful of the canvassers at our last meeting, where we had to vindicate ourselves of how bogus this ‘intimidation’ was or misrepresentation of people claiming to be employees, and we dispelled it very quickly,” he continued. “By and large, 99% of residents have chosen to participate in spite of the fact that the press, even the local papers, have tried to scare people that this is going on: ‘Watch out.’ That’s what all the hubbub is all about? It’s literally a 30-40-second survey, and this is what they’re writing about? When you read about it in the paper, it makes it sound as if it’s an ordeal. There is a form they fill out, four or five questions, and the canvassers don’t want to stay there; they want to get to the next house. But they have come back and reported that by and large, the sentiment from the community has been, ‘Thank you for doing this.’ The support within the community has been overwhelming.”

At times residents initiate conversation with the canvassers, David said. “There are a few people who are mad because they don’t like the president, and that’s fine, but all our canvassers are instructed to not engage in political discussions. If someone wants to share their opinion on how much they dislike a politician, then fine; just be polite, say, ‘Thank you for your time,’ and move on.”

Which Questions Do Canvassers Ask?

Erin detailed the questionnaire residents are provided by the volunteers. “The canvassers are instructed to ‘first introduce yourself and say you’re a volunteer,'” she said. “They are then to say, ‘Which registered voter am I speaking with?’ Each canvasser has a form with all the names of the people listed in the registration database for that address by the secretary of state, their birth year, and how the secretary of state claims they cast their ballot. We have three ways to cast a ballot: early in-person, absentee ballots, and in-person on Election Day.

“We then ask, ‘Did you vote in the November 2020 election? Did you live at this address in November 2020? What method did you use to cast your ballot? early, absentee, or on Election Day?’ Then we make notes on the form.

“Quite often, we’re finding people say they went on Election Day but that the Secretary of State recorded their vote a different way or their vote is just gone. So we’ll say, ‘Are you sure, because the SOS said something else.’ So if it doesn’t match, we alert them, and sometimes people will say, ‘Well, that might be right; I can’t really recall.’ So we’ll make those notes that they’re not sure how they voted. We then ask if they can ask the same questions of the other people living there who are registered voters.”

“They also indicate if someone has moved away from that address or never lived there,” she added, as in the case of the Tik-Tokker, who oddly, Erin observed, agreed to participate in the survey.

Allegations against SOS

In a video released Friday, the Clementses made the claim that after receiving documents through the IPRA, they learned that Toulouse Oliver’s communications director, Alex Curtas, was sending updated “reports” on Election Day to Democrat Santa Fe County Clerk Katharine Clark, who was seeking re-election.

The Clementses made the same allegation during their March 18 interview with this writer.

In the video, the Clementses ask, “Why are Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Alex Curtas so worried about the Otero County audit?”

The Clementses further claim that as the secretary of state’s communications director, Curtas is responsible for posting the agency’s official statements on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, “Alex Curtas is likely someone that’s in the middle” of communications with media outlets such as The Daily Beast and personalities such as Rachel Maddow, David said in the video.

At 6:28, Erin detailed that the responsive documents she obtained from the secretary of state’s office reveal July 2018 emails sent on a first-name basis by “RocktheVote” representative Jen Tolentino to Toulouse Oliver “asking for back-door access to New Mexico voter rolls.”

The Post & Email is awaiting a response from the New Mexico secretary of state to two IPRA requests as well as to a media inquiry submitted to Balderas’s office.

Update, Mar. 30, 2022, 11:07 a.m. EDT: Attorney General Balderas’s Director of Communications & Legislative Affairs, Jerri Mares, responded to The Post & Email’s inquiry as to complaints the office has received about the Otero County audit as follows:

Our office has received a combination of both phone calls and written complaints in support of and against the election audit. We actively conduct intake of all complaints and monitor for any violations of law, and we will conduct a full investigation if violations of law are identified.

Part 4 will describe New Mexico law governing the process by which individuals may obtain the list of registered voters and for what purpose.

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  1. You are confusing two different ppl. The titokker is not the same person that is identified as a former dem candidate and the person yelling at volunteers at the grocery store. Terrible fact checking.

  2. The deep state gop establishment controls state caucuses also and We the People saw their participation in the 2020 FRAUD that illegally installed joe dementia in the white house!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Sharon, Thank you for your courageous honesty in the reporting of David and Erin and the beautiful citizens of Otero County I look forward to reading Part 4. God’s blessings upon you as you shed light into this dark place.

  4. Checking to see if the voting is accurate is important to our democracy – it keeps it honest and fair. Anyone who doesn’t agree must be a part of the shenanigans. Thanks for doing the hard work!