The leader of the Republican Party of New Mexico is claiming voting irregularities are cropping up in the southern part of the state.

Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said GOP representatives were not being allowed to watch ballots being certified in Doña Ana County, Republicans were “kicked out of the absentee ballot certification process” there and in Sandoval County, and GOP county canvass observers were not allowed to watch ballots being certified in Valencia County.

County clerks in these areas said Pearce’s claims were false.

They expressed confusion at Pearce’s assertions that Republicans were somehow being shut out of the process and said Republicans have been watching every stage of the process across New Mexico since late October and were still scrutinizing the final stages of ballot certification.

But Pearce was adamant.

“So right now, what’s going on is we’re not being allowed to be in the certification now of provisional ballots. We’ve got three races now hanging in the balance,” Pearce said in an interview Friday.

“In Sandoval County, we’ve been kicked out, not allowed to watch the provisional process,” he continued, adding that “the secretary of state instructed them not to let us be in the process.”

Sandoval County Clerk Eileen Garbagni did not immediately return a phone call Friday.

The New Mexico Republican Party filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court in October over alleged absentee ballot issues. The court declined to hear the case, according to Pearce, who also claimed without evidence that votes are appearing “out of thin air” to change the outcomes in favor of many Democratic candidates in New Mexico.

Alex Curtas, a spokesman for Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, said the office in no way instructed local clerks to shut out Republicans.

“We told them the exact opposite of whatever Pearce told you,” Curtas said. “It’s like they’re living in the upside down or something.

“If [Pearce] would like to provide some evidence, we’d be happy to look at it,” Curtas added. “These are just specious claims that, to me at least, just seem to show the lack of understanding of the election process.”

In Valencia County, the Republican Party claims its canvass observer, David Gardner, was not allowed to observe ballots being certified Thursday.

But Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal said workers did not begin the final certification of ballots until Friday morning. She added that they waited to let canvass challengers in until the Secretary of State’s Office sent over Gardner’s approved paperwork, as required by law, and that Gardner was there Friday.

Carabajal said Republicans have been observing the county’s entire election process since late October, when the Clerk’s Office began preparing absentee ballots to be counted that arrived before Election Day.

Although the county wasn’t certifying ballots Thursday, party spokesman Mike Curtis nonetheless claimed that “David Gardner was not allowed in yesterday.”

It’s a similar story in Otero County, where Pearce claimed the “clerk just happened to find 50 absentee ballots.”

Otero County Clerk Robyn Holmes said the normal election process was being conducted.

“We had 53 absentee ballots that were turned in on Election Day at the polling locations, and on Wednesday we ran 51 through the machine because the other two had to be hand-tallied because they would not run through the machines,” she said, adding that the Clerk’s Office has documentation showing from where and when each of the ballots arrived.

She added that her office has not denied anyone from watching the process, and that “we did not have anyone request being present” when they certified the final 53 absentee ballots.

In Socorro County, where Pearce claimed that at “about midnight, 400 votes just show[ed] up out of thin air,” Socorro County Clerk Betty Saavedra said that’s simply because ballots arriving from the Alamo Navajo Reservation, about an hour away, were driven to the Clerk’s Office later than the other ballots.

“They were one of our last precincts to be reported,” she said, adding that the president of the Socorro County Republican Party “has been with us through the whole process.”

And in Doña Ana County, where Pearce also claimed GOP poll challengers had been ousted, a Republican observer was in fact there as well, watching ballots being certified Friday morning. He was also there Thursday, according to the Clerk’s Office.

“I would just say it’s confusing to hear that argument being made when Republican challengers, watchers and observers have been a part of this election from the very beginning in Doña Ana County,” said Doña Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk Lindsey Bachman.

Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda López Askin, who recused herself from administering the election this year because she ran and won reelection, said Pearce is furthering “the narrative of what’s happening on a national level, and it’s very unfortunate that anyone would want to make unfounded accusations ... and really just disrupt and malign the democratic process.”

(22) comments

Paul Branch

**** your feelings.

Doesn’t feel good, does it?

Well, now’s your chance. Now is your magic moment.

Grow up. Develop some empathy. Develop some ambitions in life more edifying than “drinking libtard tears”.

Do these things, and we’ll talk again in four years.

Until then, I hope you and your loved ones have enough to eat, a roof over your heads, remunerative employment, affordable health care, and safe neighborhoods.

I wish these things for you because I’m not like you. I don’t rejoice in the misery of others. I want the best for ALL Americans, not just the ones who look or think like me.

And BTW, Joe Biden feels that way, too.

Angel Ortiz

Now is a time for all of us to come together and work to make our community and our country stronger. We have huge challenges in front of us. My celebration today is hope for change, discovery and equality.

Craig Meyer

No Democrat should wish for Steve Pearce to go away.

Kathleen Dexter

Dear GOP = Suck it up, boys! You lost fair and square. The voters have spoken.

Angel Ortiz


Yvonne Babcock


Janet Eduardo

Pearce, the biggest loser, couldn't lead the GOP out of a paper bag. He, like his supreme leader, has nothing but lies.

Donato Velasco

all ballots need to be put in storage and have an independent judge panel review them.. or change back to only votes cast on election day by a person should be counted

Janet Eduardo

So, you're saying our troops should not be able to vote? Ok then.

David Ford

Donato it seems that you are not thinking clearly. Absentee ballots have been around since the Civil War, you know when they couldn't vote in person.... They are legally cast votes, and I have used them numerous times having spent a lot of years overseas. The COURTS of each state set the parameters. Drumpf wants to drop hundreds of absentee ballots in Georgia, most of which came from GI's serving overseas. Could be they are also voting in his favor. So please, as much fun as it is to watch and listen to the whining, please stop, it is as embarrassing to watch as the orange menace has been to our country daily.

Angel Ortiz


Linda Sperling

If you understood the election process, you would know that all ballots in NM are put into storage and can be reviewed by a panel of judges; you would also know that they ARE reviewed for verification and certification and that process is overseen by the Secretary of State. And, if you understood the process, you would also know that "changing back" to votes cast only on Election Day would disenfranchise our entire military.

Patrick Brockwell

Four years ago they were sore winners, why would we expect them to change in defeat?

Harold Martin-Smythe

This dude needs to go away, much like trump will be doing soon. Steve Pierce, your man lost. Get over it. I have some boobies for you: Fox news consultant; gun collecting; ordained minister; flag collecting. Surely, there is something productive you can do, but politics ain't it, brother. As for me, I'm gonna love Biden for the next 4 years, only hoping for as much socialism as possible.



Kathleen Dexter

Wahhhhhh..... this is what is really going on. Denial!

John Wilson

They seem to have no positive message for the good of the state so they are left with muddying the waters and impugning democracy itself.

Lupe Molina

Who is dumb enough to still pay this guy? What a waste. New Mexican has been printing a story a week about him. Just give us a weekly poem or something. Better use if ink.

MT Lee

I don't think he is paid. I think he is a rambling idiot on a voluntary basis.

Angel Ortiz

Mr. Pearce needs to get a hobby. Fly fishing? Yard sales? He is certainly not looking out for the citizens of New Mexico. Sour grapes for losing the last Governor's election. How sad

David Ford

I think he might enjoy QAnon as a hobby, you know because it all true. What clowns.


Angel Ortiz

Dear Mr Pearce. Biden wins. Game over.

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