The New Mexico Supreme Court ordered three county commissioners in southern New Mexico to comply with state law by certifying the county’s primary election results.
After the three-member Otero County Commission refused to certify election results during a meeting on Monday, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver filed a petition with the state’s high court asking justices to compel the county commission to follow state law and to do their ministerial duty. On Wednesday, the state supreme court granted the writ of mandamus and ordered the commissioners to “comply with the requirements set forth in [state law].”
The commission has until Friday to meet and certify the election or presumably face a contempt of court charge.
Otero County Commission Chair Vickie Marquardt could not be reached for comment, but Commissioner Couy Griffin told NM Political Report that he plans to “hold the line.”
“What the state is trying to do to us by leveraging us, and taking control, essentially, of our commission board through the courts, I believe, is very unconstitutional and it’s an absolute disgrace.”
Griffin was found guilty earlier this year of illegally entering a restricted area during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
State law requires that local governments certify election results within 10 days of an election and then send the results to state election officials for further certification. Until that process is completed, the election results are deemed unofficial and the winners of the primary election are not officially candidates. Holding up the certification process also means that Griffin’s colleague, Commissioner Gerald Matherly, who won his Republican primary race by 32 percentage points, is still not considered a general election candidate.