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Election Denial in New Mexico

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 1 Election Denier has held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in New Mexico

The Election Denier movement came early to New Mexico. It was one of seven states where pro-Trump Republicans prepared phony Electoral College certificates. New Mexico’s did include the conditional language to specify that it was conditional, and “it might later be determined that we are the duly elected and qualified Electors.” But it was already clear that Joe Biden had won the state, with a healthy margin of almost 11 percentage points.

New Mexico has also seen an example of a dangerous trend—election officials’ refusing to certify valid election results. In Otero County, commissioners initially refused to certify results of the June 2022 primary, citing debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines. The state Supreme Court later ordered the county to certify. 

One of those county commissioners, Couy Griffin, was later removed from office as the result of a lawsuit after he was convicted of trespassing on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. A Santa Fe man who was outside the Capitol that day was later elected to the state legislature. After the attack, New Mexico’s Rep. Yvette Herrell joined 146 other Republicans in voting to overturn state election results during the electoral count.

Election Denier behavior and disinformation can lead to danger for public servants. In December 2022 and January 2023, a failed New Mexico political candidate targeted four elected officials in a shooting spree, authorities said.

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In New Mexico, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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How New Mexico compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how New Mexico compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in Southwest States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Oklahoma, the Secretary of State is appointed by the state senate.
  2. In Texas, the Governor appoints the Secretary of State. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is an Election Denier and appointed Jane Nelson in January 2023.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in New Mexico elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in New Mexico Since 2016

Attorney General
Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 55% voter turnout rate

    • Secretary of State had a 53% voter turnout rate

  2. 2018 Midterm

    • Senator had a 47% voter turnout rate

    • Governor had a 47% voter turnout rate

    • Attorney General had a 47% voter turnout rate

    • Secretary of State had a 47% voter turnout rate

  3. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 61% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 61% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in New Mexico by Category

As of May 3, 2023, no bills had been introduced or were under consideration in New Mexico. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.