The Curry County Canvass board unanimously approved the final election canvass Friday morning during a special meeting at the courthouse.
The vote came on the heels of assurances from the county clerk that final tallies were correct and election night software glitches did not affect results.
“My staff has gone through all the tapes and feel ... like everything is correct,” County Clerk Mario Trujillo said.
“My staff worked very hard. When things go wrong, it’s nerve-wracking, (but) I would put them up against anybody in the state.”
Prior to the approval, county officials reported to the board that memory cards — used to transfer tallies from the ballot machines to a computer — experienced corruption issues that rendered them unusable.
However, staff were able to bypass the problem because those same voting machines generated paper tape printouts, which they were able to manually count and tally.
When those results were compared to voter attendance documentation, everything balanced, Bureau of Elections Coordinator Stephanie Boydstum said.
“Every person that appeared at a precinct was counted and their ballots were cast,” she said.
Three commissioners served on the board, Albin Smith, Tim Ashley and Frank Blackburn.
As they moved to approve the final canvass, Gloria Wicker, who made an unsuccessful Democratic bid for a seat as District 4 commissioner, interjected abruptly.
“You’re approving this prior to anybody being allowed to speak?” she asked. “This is the third election in a row we have had problems. I am not questioning my election at all. What I am questioning is are we going to have the fourth (election with problems) in November?”
Wicker asserted the ballots “they have locked up (should be) put in the machines and reread.”
Smith paused the approval process and County Attorney Stephen Doerr explained the purpose of the meeting, citing state statute outlining the board’s responsibility to certify the documents as being correct.
Smith allowed community members to address the board, though he made clear that the meeting was not the appropriate venue to challenge election results.
“Have I been patient? Have I been patient today? I’ve done that and I didn’t have to,” he said.
Wicker was given a printout outlining the projected costs associated with challenging election results and told an appeal would have to be made to a district judge and if granted, a recount conducted at cost to the appellant.
“I’m very confident the results are going to be the same, (but) if someone wants to spend that kind of money, that’s up to them,” Trujillo said.
Wicker emphasized her disagreement before conceding the floor.
“If they ran the way they were supposed to run, then why in the world are we here today talking about glitches?” she asked.
Curry County Republican Party Chairman Rube Render also spoke.
“In my brief and checkered career, I cannot recall voting anywhere that went perfect. ... I would much rather have accurate data a day later than inaccurate data (earlier).”
On the web — Election statutes and other related information can be found at: www.sos.state.nm.us