Canvassing board certifies Joe Biden’s win in New Mexico

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The state canvassing board on Tuesday certified Joe Biden’s win in New Mexico, delivering the state’s five electoral votes to the Democrat. The approval came as the board was forced to meet remotely amid a surging pandemic that has seen COVID-19 cases and deaths reach record highs in the state in recent weeks.

Biden’s statewide election victory without a campaign visit to New Mexico extended a string of victories for his party in a state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by 14 percentage points.

However, Biden’s margin of victory fell short of that spread as more Republican voters turned out in some areas, particularly in southern New Mexico. In that region, GOP turnout helped Republican Yvette Herrell defeat incumbent U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small to take back the more conservative-leaning district and put a dent in the Democratic sweep of other top-ticket races.

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a member of the canvassing board, said overall turnout and the number of absentee ballots cast marked records for the state. “We should be very proud of the state in terms of not just our voter turnout but the really amazingly well-run efficiency of the election,” she said, adding that there were additional challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Toulouse Oliver also touted the integrity of the election, saying there were multiple levels of checks and a review by an independent auditor to ensure accuracy. The review turned up what she called “a small number of very minor findings,” which included some hand counting errors and an unspecified voting system error. The secretary of state’s office did not immediately provide details about which counties were affected.

New Mexico was one of several states to certify the election on Tuesday. All states must certify results before the Electoral College meets Dec. 14. Any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8.

The Republican Party of New Mexico announced last week that it was working with President Donald Trump’s campaign and looking into what party officials described as irregularities.

The party during early voting had raised concerns about poll watchers not having access to the ballot verification process. Party officials also voiced concerns about the machines and software used by the state. But no legal challenges were filed in New Mexico in the weeks following the election.

In New Mexico, voters cast more than 890,000 ballots on Election Day, easily surpassing the state’s previous record of 833,000 in the 2008 presidential election.

Overall, turnout among the state’s more than 1.3 million active registered voters topped 68%, including mail, early voting and election-day ballots, according to secretary of state data. Absentee ballots alone accounted for more than 40% of the ballots cast.

The canvassing board on Tuesday also issued orders for automatic recounts in three close races, including a state House seat and a judicial post in southern New Mexico and the race for district attorney in a district that covers several central counties.

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