Otero County audit of private company worries officials


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state’s top prosecutor and election official say they are concerned about a county audit in the 2020 election. They hear people going door to door asking personal voter information.

“It’s exactly the kind of stuff that drives people away from participating in democracy,” said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “They don’t think their vote is private, which 100% is, and if they think these other things about marital status, and whether or not they vote, or how they vote, don’t not private, it can cause these concerns.

In January, Otero County commissioners approved a measure allowing a private firm to conduct the audit, citing concerns about possible voter fraud. the secretary of state and attorney general issued a notice Wednesday that these canvassers from the New Mexico Audit Force are approaching voters claiming they are with the county.

Some groups are allowed to request publicly available data, such as party affiliation or whether you voted in a certain election. But the secretary of state says the New Mexico Audit Force didn’t ask for it, asking the question: where did they get this data?

There are also concerns that this information could be used to harass voters. “You can’t take personal information and use it to harass voters, you can’t use it to somehow obtain private information from voters,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “This is unacceptable and frankly illegal.”

The AG’s office investigates information provided by the Secretary of State and also conducts a full assessment to ensure that no voter information has been breached. A helpline has been set up for voters to call with any concerns or questions at 1-844-255-9210. News 13 contacted Otero County commissioners about the audit, but did not hear back.

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