By Alexandra Ulmer
(Reuters) -New Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Otero County’s Republican-led commission to certify June’s primary election results, which it has refused to do, citing conspiracy theories about voting machines.
The order grants a request made by the secretary of state after the three-person commission in Otero County on Monday voted against certifying the results of the June 7 primary election for races including governor, congress and attorney general despite the county clerk’s assurances that the vote results were sound.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who had said the commission was acting “illegally,” celebrated the top court’s decision.
“Though it was sad to see the Commission give in to discredited conspiracy theories and try to halt the legal process of election certification, it’s encouraging to know that the rule of law prevailed,” Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Otero’s move comes ahead of the November midterm elections that will decide control of the U.S. Congress, with both chambers now narrowly held by Democrats, as well as the 2024 presidential election, in which former President Donald Trump has indicated he could seek a second White House term.
Trump has continued to propagate falsehoods that Democratic President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election. Many Republicans believe Trump even after revelations in a congressional hearing this month that the former president’s own daughter and other close allies rejected them.
“We have a big issue with trust right now,” commissioner Couy Griffin, a founder of Cowboys for Trump, said during the meeting in which he speculated that Dominion Voting Systems Corp’s machines could be hacked or manipulated.
Griffin did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the court’s decision. He was found guilty in March of breaching the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. He has yet to be sentenced.
Toulouse Oliver said the commissioners had not offered any evidence of issues with the vote tabulators or election returns. She warned that other counties may follow suit in refusing to certify results.
U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House of Representatives Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 attack, said Otero’s vote was a harbinger of more election turmoil ahead.
“Wake up America and GOP, this will destroy us,” Kinzinger tweeted on Wednesday.
“This is now the plan for MAGA, place people in low levels who can refuse to do their basic duty,” he added, referring to Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by David Gregorio, Diane Craft and Leslie Adler)