President Donald Trump’s campaign withdrew a federal lawsuit Monday that claimed New Mexico’s use of drop boxes to receive absentee ballots in the general election violated state law.
The lawsuit filed against the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office argued drop boxes were not a legal way to collect mail ballots under the state election code and that officials could not secure all the boxes or ensure one person wouldn’t drop off multiple votes.
The state implemented the drop boxes to assist voters in casting mail ballots for the presidential election amid the coronavirus pandemic, when a record number of mail ballots were requested.
The lawsuit asked the U.S. District Court to order a statewide canvass of absentee ballots and an investigation into the drop boxes.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver called it an attempt to invalidate New Mexico’s secure and lawful 2020 general election accompanied by an “overly burdensome” records request based on “an outlandish conspiracy theory involving Dominion Voting Systems.”
“This withdrawal suggests that the Trump campaign knew from the very beginning that their lawsuit was baseless and that it was simply a political show,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement Monday. “I’m pleased that they have sought to withdraw their frivolous lawsuit, but it’s only the first step President Trump and his enablers should be taking to fix the damage they have wrought on our democratic republic.”
The Trump attorney who handled this lawsuit couldn’t be reached for comment on why the suit was pulled.
But the state Republican Party, which worked with the Trump campaign on the lawsuit, said suspicions remain about the drop boxes being potentially misused.
“The Trump Campaign has made its own decision regarding their legal actions in New Mexico,” state Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said in a statement. “We still believe there are election questions that have never been answered. We sought election integrity, but the secretary of state felt it was never important enough to investigate or to provide requested information surrounding possible problems.”
Toulouse Oliver said Pearce and newly elected U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell were among the Republicans who have parroted “lies and disinformation” for weeks. That’s why the false attacks on the election must be denounced across the board, she said.
The now-withdrawn lawsuit challenging drop boxes came as members of the Electoral College in New Mexico and nationwide met to cast votes formalizing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. It asked the court to delay action by electors or vacate their certification until the case was resolved.
The state Republican Party had filed a similar lawsuit, which a judge dismissed earlier this year after Toulouse Oliver agreed to remind county clerks of guidelines for ensuring ballot drop boxes remained secure.
That precedent made this latest lawsuit destined to fail, state election officials said.
More than 60 of Trump’s lawsuits have failed in court. There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Trump lost by almost 11 percentage points in New Mexico.
“This dangerous lawsuit was a lost cause from the beginning,” state Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.
“I am still demanding that they [Republicans] step up and admit that the lies they continue to spread resulted in the deaths of civilians and law enforcement in a violent attack on our democracy,” he added, referring to last week’s riot at the Capitol.