NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The group conducting an audit of the 2020 election results in Otero County presented their initial findings Monday night, with one member calling it a potential crime scene. “We found something that is truly alarming and we need to have that discussion that is the purpose of this meeting tonight,” said David Clements who is involved in the election audit.

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This audit was ordered by the commission in January to see if there was any voter fraud. New Mexico Audit Force says they found it in their canvass of 20% of the households in Otero County. “Forty-one percent had an issue and I think this is a really big deal. Thirty percent of the people we knocked on doors don’t live at that address, some never lived at that address, and in some, there is no record of them ever existing at that address and of that 40 percent 30 percent also voted.”

The group also said they found 4% what are called “ghost votes,” people who say they never voted but there was a record of someone voting in their name, including a couple who was in the hospital with COVID, so they couldn’t have voted, and questionable voter registration with surges on days that didn’t make sense. This audit has been controversial from the start with some claiming those involved are known to spread false narratives of election fraud.

The state auditor has also issued a letter to commissioners questioning the methodology and legitimacy, and the Secretary of State says she received complaints about the canvassing.

A spokesperson from the New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State issued the following statement:

The so-called “audit” in Otero County has from the beginning been a political stunt orchestrated to perpetuate the Big Lie and make people lose trust in our elections.

The 2020 election was canvassed and audited at multiple levels — by County Clerks, our Office, and independent auditors — and there was absolutely no indication that anything was amiss. Voters should have the utmost confidence in New Mexico’s elections and know that their votes count, despite the outlandish conspiracy theories being pushed by the backers of this so-called “audit” in Otero County.

The so-called “audit” that’s been pushed by Mr. and Mrs. Clements has been a political stunt from the beginning, orchestrated by people with a political agenda who have demonstrated little to no understanding about New Mexico’s election laws.

(For example, though no one mentioned it in the three-plus hour commission meeting, if Mr. Clements had any real knowledge about New Mexico’s election laws he’d know that every election in New Mexico is already conducted using 100% paper ballots. Using all paper ballots in every election allows for auditing and verification of automated vote counting systems because there is always a paper trail. That means that even if by some means a nefarious actor was able to penetrate one of our systems, we always have a physical backup of paper ballots that can be referred to in order to achieve the accurate result.)

Their methods are faulty and the conclusions they’ve drawn from them to impugn the integrity of our elections are utterly and completely false. The misinformation they’ve already spewed into the public discourse is degrading people’s trust in our democratic systems, even though New Mexico runs some of the safest, most efficient, and most transparent elections in the entire country. Sadly, the implications of these flawed “audits” that political operatives are continuing to spread around the country will likely be a further degradation of trust in our electoral systems – and that’s why I’m so concerned that you covered this stunt at all. Our Office encourages voters to seek out trusted sources of election information, like through their county clerk or our Office, and to look skeptically on claims about the Big Lie like those pushed by the people behind this so-called “audit.”