December 14, 2020

It’s official: NM casts electoral votes for Biden

Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden campaigning in Iowa in August, 2019. (Flickr/Creative Commons

New Mexico’s five electoral votes formally were cast for Joe Biden on Monday.

The five electors, all wearing masks, gathered for the socially distanced occasion in Room 307 in the Roundhouse, on Monday morning.

The votes that take place in every state across the country are typically an unnoticed event every four years. But with incumbent President Donald Trump refusing to concede to Biden, the Democratic former vice president, and losing dozens of legal challenges seeking to overturn results in various states, there was increased attention on the formality.

The official, certified election results in New Mexico found that Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris easily won the state, defeating Trump and running mate Mike Pence by nearly 100,000 votes: a 54.29 percent to 43.5 percent margin of the over 923,000 votes cast in the presidential race.

There was no drama in the electors casting all five votes for Biden, unlike in some other states on Monday.

“New Mexico’s Presidential Electors upheld their constitutional duty today by casting their votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the lawful winners of the 2020 General Election,” Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said in a statement after the vote. “Despite the false claims and disinformation still circulating in the public, this election was the most secure in American history and every voter in New Mexico should have confidence in the integrity of their vote. Our democratic institutions are meant to reflect the will of the people and that’s exactly what happened here as the Electoral College met today, despite attempts to silence voter’s voices in the courts and elsewhere. 

New Mexico has now cast its electoral votes for the Democratic nominee in four straight elections and seven of the last eight elections. George W. Bush won New Mexico by less than 6,000 votes in 2004.

New Mexico has a law making it a fourth degree felony for an elector to cast their ballot for anyone other than the candidate who received the highest number of votes in the state. This is a guard against so-called “faithless electors.”

The electors are nominated by the party of the nominee that won the most votes, in this case the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

The electoral vote happened in a largely empty room, with only the electors, staff from the Secretary of State’s office and alternate electors in place. The state capitol remains locked down because of COVID-19 restrictions.

In other states, there were additional concerns. In Michigan, police closed the state capitol to the public because of “credible threats” of violence and electors received a police escort.

The Secretary of State’s office told NM Political Report before the vote they were not aware of any special procedures or protections needed for the electors.

The slate of electors chose Vince Alvarado as the presiding officers of the electors, and Brianna Gallegos as the secretary.

Later on Monday, the state Republican Party announced it would have an alternate set of electors to cast votes for Trump. State law does not allow for the losing party to cast electoral votes.

In some other states won by Biden, Republicans cast electoral votes for Trump using alternative slates, which aren’t based on the winner of the states’ votes. All major legal challenges by Trump’s campaign and allies seeking to overturn election results and invalidate votes ended in a ruling against Trump, with the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding Biden’s win in that state on Monday, just hours before its electors cast their ballots in the electoral college for Biden.

Update (11 p.m., 12/14): Added information on the Republican Party of New Mexico having an alternate set of electors.