ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It takes 58 signatures from registered Democrats to get on the ballot as a Democratic candidate for the District 14 seat in New Mexico's state senate.
Current state Rep. Eleanor Chavez's (D - Albuquerque) campaign submitted more than 200 on her petition to get on the ballot.
But when News 13 went door-to-door talking to some people who had apparently signed that petition, many said they didn't know who Chavez was, hadn't signed anything for her campaign and that their signatures were forged.
So far seven have signed affidavits stating they did not sign Chavez's petition.
One of those is Jennifer Deer, 72, who's been legally blind for well over a quarter of a century. Deer says her signature couldn't possibly be on the ballot petition because she cannot keep her signature on one line. The signatures clearly do not match.
"I thought it was very frightening to tell you the truth," Deer said. "If they can do this for voting they can do it for any other motive they might have."
Just down the street, Joseph Dangelo says the signature that's supposedly his is a clear forgery.
"I think it's crazy for someone to have tried to do something like that when it will easily be found out but apparently some people are not smart enough I don't know," Dangelo said.
More residents in this same neighborhood in Albuquerque's South Valley had similar stories and showed News 13 signatures that did not match those on the petition document.
Two separate Carlos A. Garcias listed at the same address apparently signed the petition with what appears to be different writing styles on back-to-back lines. In an affidavit, Garcia denied ever signing the petition.
The questionable signatures were first discovered by Michael Padilla, one of Chavez's opponents in the Democratic primary. Padilla tells News 13 he was going door-to-door, trying to change the minds of voters who had signed for Chavez when some of those voters told him they had no idea who Chavez was.
Padilla filed a letter with the Bernalillo County Clerk pointing out the problems with the signatures and calling for an investigation.
Bernalillo County Attorney Ray Autio said the complaint has been forwarded to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office for a possible investigation.
In a phone interview, Chavez denied any personal wrongdoing.
"The allegations against me are false," Chavez said. "I did not forge anyone's signature."
Chavez says a campaign volunteer collected those signatures and that she is holding judgment until she can speak to the volunteer. She says the volunteer is out of town.
"Anytime you gather signatures and you use volunteers there's going to be an error rate," Chavez said.
In a statement released late Monday, the Chavez campaign says it's conducting its own internal investigation and will fully cooperate with authorities.
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