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.”