A losing congressional candidate acting on behalf of the Republican Party of New Mexico filed a lawsuit Friday asking a judge to impound Bernalillo County ballots cast in the November general election.

The “expedited petition to impound ballots” and associated documents was filed late Friday by Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1st Congressional District seat won by Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland.

“New Mexico law grants all candidates an absolute right ... to have all the ‘tally sheets, registration certificates, paper ballots, absentee ballots, statements of [canvass], absentee ballot applications and absentee ballot registers’ from their election impounded by the State Police for safekeeping under the Court’s supervision,” the legal filing states.

“Ms. Garcia Holmes brings this Petition to exercise that right, in order examine — with an eye toward both prospective improvements in election policy and retrospective, outside verification of certain results — a number of attributes of the ballots cast in this very unusual election,” it states.

The legal filing doesn’t specify what was “very unusual” about the election, though Republican President Donald Trump and others have lodged unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.

In a news release, the state GOP said it asked Garcia Holmes to submit the filing, which it is financing. It also said it is considering impounding ballots in other counties.

“There are questions that still persist in this election that involve election integrity, and we must look closely at what happened here in New Mexico,” Steve Pearce, chairman of the state GOP, said in a statement.

In a statement, Marg Elliston, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said the state Republican Party is continuing to make unfounded allegations about improper conduct during the general election without any evidence to support its claims.

“Rep. Deb Haaland won the election in CD-1 by an overwhelming margin, because voters know that she is the best candidate to represent the district,” Elliston said. “Continuing to file frivolous lawsuits is a blatant attempt by the GOP to cast doubt on a legitimate election.”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(8) comments

Carol Adams

The claims that fraud accusations are unsubstantiated is wrong. In every battleground state poll workers have spoken out with signed affidavits under penalty of law. Look at newsmax or fox business to learn the truth not shown on cnn, msnbc or main stream media. If you still think fraud is fake then prove it is not.

Richard Irell

The lack of evidence has resulted in 50 failed lawsuits. You can claim what you want but the losers and whiners have not presented any evidence in a court of law.

Chris Mechels

This is not a crazy as it sounds. I worked elections during the 1990s, including as Presiding Judge during the 2000 election. I don't believe the election was crooked. However, the materials I was given to guide me were pathetic. Materials provided by the SOS were poorly written and edited, and in some cases violated NM statutes. To compensate for this shoddy effort by the SOS, SF County issued their guidance, which sometimes conflicted with the SOS guidance, and sometimes also violated NM statutes. The handling of "provisional ballots" was particularly poor.

My conclusion was that we had a "system" that produced different guidance for each County, leaving far too much to the discretion of the County and the Presiding Judges, with very poor documents.

I approached the SOS office with these issues, and they were not interested, Full Stop. They were busy claiming to be wonderful, and showing the USA how to run elections, and didn't welcome bad news. I persisted in raising these concerns, and was struck from the rolls of election workers for my efforts. Called "Shoot the Messenger".

I have no reason to think the system is now solid, and find the SF County Clerk's office a bit secretive when asked questions about elections. The documents of interest are the guidance documents given the Presiding Judges, and they hold those closely, perhaps because they are very ugly documents. In my day, they insisted on getting the guidance documents returned, perhaps for destruction.

Again, I am not suggesting that this affected the outcomes, it certainly didn't in the precinct I was responsible for, but that its a mess that needs to be looked into, not covered up. The guidance given Presiding Judges, who "run" the election at the Precinct level on election day, "should" be consistent, for all counties in our state, to ensure equal treatment of voters. It wasn't, and I rather suspect it still isn't. Worth looking into...

In case you haven't noticed, our current SOS, Maggie is busy campaigning, non-stop, and uninterested in enforcing laws under her purview, such as the Financial Disclosure Act. I have gone round with her office on this, to no avail. She simply doesn't seem to care about her job, past getting Maggie forward. Like too many of our NM politicians.

Jerry Appel

This seems like a national strategy by Trump's Republican Party. But it is not about who won the election, but it seems aimed at the very idea of elections. Without any shred of evidence and using the sanctimonious words of ensuring election integrity, Trump's Republicans are mounting a national public relations campaign to suppress the vote. In many Republican dominated states, legislatures have taken a lot of steps to suppress voting opportunities by reducing the number of days and or locations for early voting. In Florida, a winning ballot initiative to give felons that served time the right to vote was circumvented by the Republican legislature by requiring those former felons to pay fines before being allowed to vote, a poll tax. Who are the majority of people in prison, non-whites. This is the Trump-Republican Party, an alliance of segregationists, evangelicals who are focused on abortions and not rapists, and conservatives. Neither Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower would recognize this party or be nominated for President by this party. Let's be clear, NM Republican Chairman Pearce is not looking at election integrity where Congresswoman-elect Harrell was successful. This is all an attack on our Republic and its democratic institutions by the rich, powerful, white people who are seeing their privileged culture slipping into the hands of a diverse society. I just wish it was slipping away a lot faster.

Richard Irell

Absolutely. The Republicans wave the flag but have no idea what it represents.

Richard Irell

The only legitimate elections are the ones in which the Republican candidate wins.

Carolyn DM

LMAO!! And that's only according to the loser Republicans and their brainwashed cultists!! Good one!!

Harvey Morgan II

Look inward Steve.

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