Judge to allow impound of ballots in 2nd Congressional District race

New Mexico News

Friday brought a win in court for Republican Yvette Herrell, who appears to have lost the race for the Congressional District 2 seat.

Herrell made her acceptance speech on election night when she was about 2,000 votes ahead.

A day later, Dona Ana County finished tallying the absentee ballots and determined Herrell’s Democratic competitor Xochitl Torres Small was the true winner by about 3,500 votes.

However, Herrell questioned the handling of those ballots and filed a lawsuit, asking that those ballots be impounded and checked. 

In a Las Cruces courtroom on Friday, District Judge Manuel Arrieta said he would sign an order to impound the 8,000 absentee ballots, but only after the the state certifies the results on Nov. 27, and if voter confidentially can be maintained during the impoundment.

“The statewide certification of the results that happens with the state canvassing board meeting on the 27th is going to take place as planned and the results will be certified,” said Alex Curtas with the Secretary of State’s office.

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office said an order like this is rare, adding the logistics of inspecting the ballots has not been determined, but their main mission is protecting the voter. 

“That is a concern from the Dona Ana County Clerk and from our office certainly that voter privacy not be violated in any way,” Curtas said. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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