by Sharon Rondeau

Otero County in New Mexico (public domain)

(Apr. 2, 2022) — As The Post & Email reported in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, in January the county commission of Otero County, NM approved an expenditure of approximately $50,000 to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 general election which remains ongoing.

The canvass portion of the endeavor, however, will be completed Saturday, volunteer coordinator Erin Clements told us in an interview on Friday evening, with 25% of the county canvassed.

“We’re going to call it good” on Saturday, she told us, after which volunteers will conduct an “analysis” of the data gathered over the eight weeks since the effort launched.

An interim report, Erin said, will be presented to the county commission at its next public meeting in approximately ten days.

Erin and her husband David, who is an attorney, along with other county citizens advocated for the audit following the November 3, 2020 general election. On January 13, the three county commissioners voted to approve the measure, although not without opposition from state-level officials.

In 2021, Erin dedicated considerable time to obtain, analyze, collaborate with others and write a 261-page report, sourced from government data and provided to the commissioners in November, in which she concluded that “statewide fraud” had occurred.

Although only about 25,000 residents cast votes in the 2020 election, Erin said, the total area which canvassers had to contemplate covering is vast, requiring extensive travel time over challenging terrain. Canvassing the entire county was her initial goal, she told us, but she is satisfied that fully one-quarter of it will have been accomplished as of Saturday.

In an earlier interview March 18, Erin estimated that about 15% of county voters had been canvassed and remarked that, contrary to state officials’ characterizations and the media’s depictions of the canvass as potentially “intimidating” to residents, most voters expressed appreciation for the undertaking.

All of those conducting the canvass, Erin said, are volunteers who are well-known to one another as part of the “New Mexico Audit Force.” In order to complete it to the extent possible, she told us, she has been using the statewide voter registration list available from the secretary of state’s office.

That list, the Clementses said, is made available to political candidates or representatives of major political parties “once a month” and, although deemed proprietary by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, is in the possession of “hundreds and hundreds” of individuals across the state at any given time.

Average citizens also can legally obtain the list, Erin told us. “You can ask the county clerk for a copy for a nominal fee or purchase the statewide list from the secretary of state, which is very expensive,” she said.

“I used to be an executive committee member of a major political party here and held leadership roles and was once a candidate,” David told us, “which provided access to the state list. Our source is a direct contact, a person who had absolute permission under our state laws to have a full updated copy. Once a month, they get an updated copy. That’s where we got it.”

The secretary of state refused to provide a copy of the list to Otero County commissioners once the audit was approved, Erin said. However, the secretary of state’s office “is the source of the information, whether or not they’re aware that it was retrieved from them,” David said.

“What’s kind-of funny about it is that anyone who is canvassing for political candidates has access to the list, so both major parties have an app where it will generate lists which give you more information than we put on our rolls,” Erin said. “It will tell you which ones are Democrats or Republicans, how many times they voted in the last five elections — anybody who is going door-to-door passing out fliers has access to these rolls.”

On March 30, 2022, VRF, which launched the voter-registration database voteref.com, sued New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and Oliver over Oliver’s reported claims that New Mexico’s voter rolls cannot legally be disseminated to the public. “VoteRef.com published the New Mexico list in December 2021,” the organization wrote in a press release. “Subsequently, on liberal websites, Oliver declared the publication was illegal and stated she has referred the matter to Democrat Attorney General Balderas. The VRF lawsuit also noted Oliver on another occasion, in 2017, refused to release publicly available voting records when requested by a presidential election integrity commission controlled by an opposing political party.”

As he has written on his Telegram channel, David is a strong proponent of abolishing electronic voting machines and adopting a paper-ballot-only approach to elections not only in Otero County, but across the nation. He is determined to find “the truth” about the 2020 election, wherever it leads, he told The Post & Email.

As a result of the canvass, the Clementses told us, significant differences in the voter-roll data and the information voters related to canvassers were apparent, reinforcing their doubts about the accuracy of the official statewide voter database. One anomaly Erin noted, she said, was that for the November 3, 2020 election, approximately 50,000 individuals were registered to vote after that date “yet still voted.”

She also claimed that the statewide voter database is “being manipulated on a daily basis.” Another finding, the Clementses said, is that some votes are not recorded, but rather, “just dropped.”

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