December 14, 2020

Trump campaign files suit to overturn NM’s election results, even after they were certified and electoral votes were cast

Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland Flickr cc

After losing New Mexico by nearly 100,000 votes and over 11 percentage points, and the same day the state voted to cast its electoral votes for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the Donald Trump campaign filed a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate thousands of votes and asked a federal judge to overturn the state’s election results.

The Secretary of State’s office said they had not yet been served with the lawsuit as of Monday afternoon, which was 41 days after the election, but a spokesman for Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Alex Curtas said, “We look forward to its swift dismissal.” 

The lawsuit is one of a series of dozens of legal actions that have failed to overturn any election results. In fact, on Monday, enough states cast electoral votes for Biden to secure the victory, the same result that has been clear for weeks.

Some judges have tossed out lawsuits by Trump’s campaign and his allies for not filing the claims in a timely fashion.

This lawsuit targets drop off boxes, which the campaign claims were illegally in place.

The campaign argued that “non-legislative actors modified the election statutes of the state of New Mexico” and that “the resulting uncertainty casts doubt on the lawful winner.”

The campaign also called on the federal court to “vacate the appointment and certifications of New Mexico state presidential electors and remand to their State legislatures to allocate presidential electors via any constitutional means that does not rely on 2020 election results that include votes cast in violation of State election statutes in place on Election Day.”

The Secretary of State’s office noted that a similar lawsuit was withdrawn by the Republican Party of New Mexico earlier this year.

“By withdrawing that lawsuit, the State GOP acknowledged that drop boxes are legal under New Mexico law and that it was absolutely appropriate for the Secretary of State to provide this safe and efficient option for voters to make their voice heard in the 2020 General Election,” Curtas said. “Now, on the same day that New Mexico’s electoral votes were cast for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Donald Trump is making a desperate attempt to undermine our lawful election in New Mexico predicated on a misunderstanding of election laws.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico said that it worked with the Trump campaign to file the lawsuit.

As Curtas noted, the state Republican Party filed a similar suit in state district court, originally alleging that secure ballot boxes were accessible after regular hours. Before that case saw its first hearing, the state Republican Party dropped the two county clerks from the suit. The ballot boxes in question were reportedly drop boxes for other types of county business. That case was ultimately dismissed.   

The party also announced that it would have its own slate of electors to convene and file electoral votes for Trump, even though he lost. 

Congress will open and count electoral votes on January 6.

Last week, the state Republican Party announced it backed a lawsuit by the state of Texas seeking to overturn election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit, as requested by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and nearly two dozen other Democratic attorneys general.

Andy Lyman contributed to this story.