City Council Resolution To Renegotiate “To The Extent Advisable” APD Consent Degree Reflects Ignorance By Council Of APD Reform Mandates And Court Process; Resolution Sponsorship By City Councilor Dan Lewis Reflects His Past Failures To Oversee APD

On March 10, 2022 the Albuquerque City Council passed a resolution directing city officials “to the extent advisable” to “petition” to reopen and renegotiate the Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandating the reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department. The council resolution passed on an 8-to-1 vote with City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn the only councilor to vote against the resolution. Fiebelkorn is to be commended for not voting for such an ill advised resolution only meant for show and press coverage.

The city council resolution says the “petition” should address recommendations contained in a released by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on September 13, 2021, including putting a cap on how much an independent monitor overseeing court-mandated reforms can be paid and assessing ending the monitorship after 5 years.

During the March 10 council meeting, City attorneys would not answer questions about the process to renegotiate the agreement and what factors are being considered. Instead, all questions were referred to APD.

APD Chief Harold Medina for his part said he wanted to wait to see what the next Federal Monitors report looks like and if the city has gained momentum before trying to renegotiate the agreement. The next Federal monitor’s report is expected in May.

Police Chief Harold Medina said he had been assured by the Federal Monitor that the next report on APD’s progress would be different than recent ones that have been harshly critical of the department’s progress. Medina had this to say:

I want to keep all options on the table. … I want the support of the council — as I have the support of the mayor’s office and the administration — in the fact that if we have to move in the direction of asking for modification or movements in this process that we are all united as one city moving forward.”

Gilbert Gallegos, one of APD’s spokesman had this to say:

“I can reiterate that we have been working on related issues with the DOJ and the monitor. … We anticipate taking some actions in the coming weeks to improve the reform process and ensure it reflects what is best for Albuquerque.”

Councilor Pat Davis said he supported the resolution but not because he wants the city to “kick the DOJ out of town” and Davis said:

“I think it’s important to recognize the goal posts haven’t changed, but there are some ways we can improve our relationship. … I appreciate this is the way to do that.”


The city council resolution enacted makes reference and quotes to the new rules and guidelines issued by Attorney General Garland on consent decrees and for that reason those guidelines merit review.

It was on Monday, September 13, that United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, unveiled the new rules governing federal monitors responsible for overseeing police reforms and implementation of court approved settlement reform measures. The new rules include setting limits on federal court appointed monitor’s tenure, budgets for their services and requiring them to undergo more training.

The Department of Justice said in a press release:

“The department has found that – while consent decrees and monitors are important tools to increase transparency and accountability – the department can and should do more to improve their efficiency and efficacy. The Associate Attorney General [Vanita Gupta] has recommended – and I have accepted – a set of 19 actions that the department will take to address those concerns.”

Associate Attorney General Gupta for his part had this to say:

“Consent decrees have proven to be vital tools in upholding the rule of law and promoting transformational change in the state and local governmental entities where they are used. … The department must do everything it can to guarantee that they remain so by working to ensure that the monitors who help implement these decrees do so efficiently, consistently and with meaningful input and participation from the communities they serve.”

The 19 actions are outlined in the memo released by the DOJ. There are 5 major principals outlined in Gupta’s memo that will require future monitorships of state and local governmental to meet. Those principals are:

1. Monitorships should be designed to minimize cost to jurisdictions and avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

2. Monitors must be accountable to the court, the parties and the public.

3. Monitors should assess compliance consistently across jurisdictions.

4. Sustained, meaningful engagement with the community is critical to the success of the monitors.

5. Monitoring must be structured to efficiently move jurisdictions into compliance.

The steps the department will take going forward in all monitor agreements to ensure that these principles are outlined as follows:

1. Budget Caps: Future consent decrees will include an annual cap on monitors’ fees to increase transparency and help contain costs.

2. No Double Dipping: To dispel any perception that monitoring is a cottage industry, lead monitors in future consent decrees will no longer be able to serve on more than one monitoring team at a time. Editor’s Note: The APD Federal Monitor has served in the past as a consent decree monitor in other cities, but only one at a time.

3. Monitors Should Prioritize Stakeholder Input: To ensure that monitors selected are able to understand of a variety of interests and perspectives of the stakeholders in the process, including impacted communities, law enforcement and victims of official misconduct.

4. Term Limits: To ensure that monitors are being held accountable, consent decrees will impose specific terms for monitors that can only be renewed after a process of judicial evaluation and reappointment.

5. Effective Practices Guide, Assessment Tools and Training Materials: To ensure that monitorships are being conducted consistently across jurisdictions, the department will convene a group of stakeholders to create a set of effective practices for monitors, training programs for new monitors and judges overseeing monitorships and assessment tools for monitors to use to evaluate jurisdictions.

6. Termination Hearing After No More than Five Years: To ensure that monitorships are designed to incentivize monitors and jurisdictions to move towards compliance as efficiently as possible, future consent decrees will require a hearing after five years so that jurisdictions can demonstrate the progress it has made, and if possible, to move for termination. To the extent that full compliance has not yet been reached by five years, the hearing will be used to solidify the plan for getting over the finish line in short order.

The problem with the City of Albuquerque’s and APD’s Court Approved Settlement is that the new rules are directive from the Department of Justice meant for future consent decrees, not ones that are already underway like the one in Albuquerque. Now that a Court Approved Settlement Agreement has been filed in the form of a Court Order, the Federal Judge has no obligation to follow the new DOJrules. After a full 7 years of the city’s Court Approved Settlement Agreement, there is very little next to nothing of new rules that can be applied to Albuquerque’s settlement.

The above outlined changes will not automatically impact the city of Albuquerque’s court-mandated reform effort. In fact, many of the proposals in fact already exist in one form or another when it comes to APD’s court approved settlement agreement. Those include the monitor being accountable to the court, prioritizing stakeholder input and being accountable to the court and subject to judicial oversight and termination.

Notwithstanding, Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement that his administration “will approach the U.S. District Court in New Mexico to ensure the same standards are applied to [the Albuquerque Police Department’s] settlement agreement.”


It was in 2013 that the Department of Justice (DOJ) conducted an investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department. The DOJ found that APD engaged in a pattern of “excessive use of force” and “deadly force” and a “culture of aggression” existed within APD. The DOJ investigation of APD resulted in a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) entered into by the City and the DOJ mandating 271 police reforms.

It was April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, released a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). You can read the entire report here.

A significant number of the use of force cases reviewed involved persons suffering from acute mental illness and who were in crisis. The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision did not ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness were respected and police did not act in a manner that was safe for all involve.

What differentiates the DOJ’s investigation of APD from the other federal investigations of police departments and consent decrees is that the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of excessive force or deadly force against minorities. The DOJ’s finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD dealt with APD’s interactions and responses to suspects that were mentally ill and that were having psychotic episodes.


The biggest and most pervasive complaints involving the settlement agreements are that they go on, and on for on years, they harm police morale and frustrate community residents. Monitoring teams, such as what Albuquerque has, are usually composed of former police officials, lawyers, academics and police-reform consultants.

The monitoring teams typically bill local taxpayers between $1 million and $2 million per year. In Albuquerque, Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger has been paid upwards of $8 million over the last 7 years and his team has prepared 14 Independent Monitor’s Reports filed with the federal court. Each time a report is released, the Federal Court has an all day briefing in the case.

It was on November 16, 2014, that the City and the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The agreement contains 276 requirements for reforming the police department. The settlement required the appointment of a Federal Court Monitor to perform audits on the progress of the all reform. Thus far, 14 federal monitor reports have been filed. The link to the CASA is here:


Certain provisions of the settlement need to be reviewed when it comes to any attempt by the city to “renegotiate to the extent advisable”the Consent Degree. The CASA contains the following suspension and termination provisions:

“Termination of the Agreement

342. The City will endeavor to reach full and effective compliance with this Agreement within four years of its Effective Date. The Parties agree to jointly ask the Court to terminate this Agreement after this date, provided that the City has been in full and effective compliance with this Agreement for two years. “Full and Effective Compliance” shall be defined to require sustained compliance with all material requirements of this Agreement or sustained and continuing improvement in constitutional policing, as demonstrated pursuant to the Agreement’s outcome measures.

343. If after six years from the Effective Date the Parties disagree whether the City has been in full and effective compliance for two years, either Party may seek to terminate this Agreement. In the case of termination sought by the City, prior to filing a motion to terminate, the City agrees to notify DOJ in writing when the City has determined that it is in full and effective compliance with this Agreement and that such compliance has been maintained for no less than two years.”

The CASA does have a provision that allows suspension of the monitoring. Specifically, Paragraph 302 of the CASA provides:

“302. Where the Parties agree, the Monitor shall refrain from conducting a compliance review of a requirement previously found by the Monitor to be in sustained compliance for at least two years pursuant to audits or reviews, or where outcome assessments or other information indicate that the outcome intended by the requirement has been achieved.”

The link to the full 106-page CASA containing 276 mandated reforms can be read here:

Under the CASA, the federal monitor evaluates compliance in three specific areas:

1. PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.

2. SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to (and effective in) implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts (reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.

3. OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.

The CASA was negotiated to be fully implemented over a four-year period. However, because of the previous Republican City Administration’s “delay, do little and deflect” tactics, which was found by the Federal Monitor in his second report, it has taken much longer to implement the agreed to and mandated reforms.

Under the terms and conditions of the CASA, once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in all 3 of the compliance areas, and maintains compliance for 2 years, the case can be dismissed.


In the November 12, 2021 IMR-14 report, the Federal Monitor reported the 3 compliance levels as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100 %; (No change)
Secondary Compliance: 82 %; (No change)
Operational Compliance: 62 % (An increase 3% points)

Regarding the compliance levels, the Federal Monitor wrote:

“These data depict an organization that is willing to ‘chip away’ at the margins, completing expeditiously tasks that improve efficiency – and even effectiveness – but steadfastly refusing to make meaningful reform to processes involving use of force, excessive use of force, the processes of police-community interactions on the street, supervision, command, and discipline.”

These data indicate that over the last seven reporting periods (three years), APD has virtually held constant in its compliance outcomes. There has been remarkably little change in operational compliance levels since IMR-8 in 2013. Compliance figures have held steady over that period of time, with operational compliance registering 59 percent in IMR-8 and 62 percent in IMR-14.

When one considers the vast amounts of technical assistance, coaching, and problem-solving provided to APD by the monitoring team over the past seven reporting periods, a 3 percentage point increase in overall compliance is evidence that APD is unwilling or unable to meet the requirements of the CASA related to supervision and oversight of in-field operations. The data [collected] … indicate no meaningful improvement in operational compliance at APD since IMR-8. In the monitor’s experience, this represents a question.”


On November 16, 2021, a full 7 years expired since the city entered into the CASA with the DOJ. From all appearances and practical purposes, and from review of the Federal Monitor’s reports, the City and APD have completed the following mandated reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement:

1. After a full year of negotiations, new “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies have been written, implemented and all APD sworn have received training on the policies.

2. All sworn police officers have received crisis management intervention training.

3. APD has created a “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force.

4. The Internal Affairs Unit has been divided into two sections, one dealing with general complaints and the other dealing with use of force incidents.

5. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning choke-holds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re-writing and implementation of new use of force and deadly force policies have been completed.

6. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques an de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have been implemented at the APD police academy with all sworn police having received the training.

7. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.

8. APD has revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.

9. The Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, has been abolished.

10. Civilian Police Oversight Agency has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director hired.

11. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) have been created in all area commands and the CPCs meet monthly.

12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.

13. The CASA identified that APD was understaffed. The City and APD are in the process of spending $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and grow the department to 1,200 officers. As of January 1, 2020, APD has 949 full time police officers, up from 878 sworn police. The expansion initially included hiring from other departments and returning to work APD retirees.

15. According to the Use of Force Report for the years 2017 and 2018, APD’s “use of force” and “deadly force” is down, which was one of the primary objectives of the CASA reforms.


The resolution enacted by the city council for the city to renegotiate “to the extent advisable” the Court Approved Settlement Agreement is a reflection of sure ignorance on the part of the City Council and the reforms mandated. It reflects that the city council does not have a basic understanding of the court process nor the true meaning of a federal court order.

The fact that the City Attorney would not answer any questions about the process to renegotiate the settlement agreement and what factors can be considered at best was an ignorance of the practice of law on the part of the city attorney office and at worst legal malpractice for the city attorney’s failure to properly advise its client the City Council.

Chief Medina either made it up or lied when he told the city council that he had been “assured by the Federal Monitor” that the next report on APD’s progress would be different than recent ones and not as harshly critical of the department’s progress. The Federal Monitor is an officer of the court, does not and cannot report to Medina and as such can not give any such assurances. The Federal Monitor must follow the evidence dealing with compliance levels. Chief Medina’s comment “I want to keep all options on the table” likewise is laughable. Medina has no options at this point in time other than bringing his department into compliance with the settlement terms and conditions.

Simply put, there is nothing to negotiate. The city and the DOJ entered into a binding court order settlement agreement on what APD needs to do to come into compliance before the case can be dismissed. Because the settlement is a court approved order, any and all changes, even if agreed to by the Department of Justice and the city, must be approved by the Federal Judge.

At this point in the process, the city has essentially only two options under the CASA:

1. File a motion to dismiss alleging that the city is in compliance with the settlement, which it is not. The city’s non compliance became so bad last year when it came to investigating police use of force cases that the Department of Justice felt it had enough to file a Motion for Contempt of Court. The City fearing such a motion and having APD forced into a receivership, agreed to the creation of External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) consisting of privately contracted investigators to teach APD how to investigate use of force cases and assist in handling of 660 backlogged use of force cases that APD unilaterally decided not to investigate.

2. File a motion to suspend and modify the terms of the CASA. The city in fact filed such a motion last year, but quickly withdrew it when it was objected to by the Department of Justice and others participating as friends of the court.

After over 7 years of implementing the mandating DOJ reforms, and millions spent on training, APD is still struggling mightily with Operational Complianceat 62% compliance. Operational compliance is the single most important compliance level of all 3 and it is where the rubber hits the road with respect to the reforms.

Operational compliance is the hardest to attain. Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency. It is achieved when line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns”and enforces its policies. The problem is that the Federal Monitor has repeatedly found that APD sergeants and lieutenants are resisting the reforms.

Whatever attempts the city takes “to the extent advisable” to renegotiate the Court approved settlement will require a court hearing for approval and in all likely an evidentiary hearing. Ultimately it will be the Federal Judge who will decide if new settlement terms will be adopted.


Monday, January 10, 2022 was the very first meeting of the new year for the new City Council. It was during that meeting that City Councilor Dan Lewis introduced the resolution directing the city administration to consider and “to the extent advisable,” push to renegotiate the terms of the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). What City Councilor Dan Lewis wants the City Council and the genal public to forget is that he was a failure during his second full term on the city from 2013 to 2017 when it came to police oversight and the Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Dan Lewis did nothing when he was on the city council before when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD)reforms. Lewis never challenged the Republican Berry Administration nor the APD command staff in public in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Court appointed Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Lewis remained silent. Lewis declined to demand accountability from Mayor Berry and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms.

When Federal Monitor James Ginger made a presentation to a city council committee Lewis was presiding over, then City Council President Dan Lewis asked Dr. Ginger “Who is ultimately responsible for failure to implement the reforms an overseeing APD?When Ginger said “The City Council” Lewis chortled uncomfortably with other counselors with a stupid expression of disbelief on his face.

Lewis often likes to take credit for bringing the DOJ to the city with his sponsorship of a resolution enacted by the City Council. The truth is Lewis had very little to do with it or nothing at all to bring the Department of Justice to the city.

The DOJ came to the city because minority community stakeholders who had been victimized by APD and lobbied aggressively and effectively to get the DOJ to come to the city. Even as a City Councilor, Lewis did not attend a single federal court hearing on the Federal Monitor’s reports to find out what APD’s position was on the monitor’s reports.


Before City Councilor Dan Lewis introduces any more meaningless resolutions to deal with the Court Approved Settlement that are a waste of time and grandstanding on his part before the Council, and that will have no impact on the process, Lewis needs to educate himself on the contents of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement. To that end, all documents related to APD’s settlement agreement can be downloaded and reviewed at this city web site link:

The documents include:

The Settlement Agreement between City and the DOJ
APD Progress Reports
Independent Monitor’s Reports
Compliance Reports
Use of Force Annual Reports
Use of Force Reports

Another Day, Another APD Overtime Dollar Scandal; APD Lieutenant Paid $159,558 In Overtime In 2021; $400,000 Overtime Paid To 4 Sworn In 2020; Initiate Civil Collections, Criminal Time Card Fraud Actions; Make Sergeants And Lieutenants Non Union, At Will, To Stop Overtime Pay Abuse

It was on Friday, August 6, 2021, the New Mexico State Auditor’s long-awaited special audit report on overtime abuse by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) was released. It was the 7th audit performed on APD overtime practices since 2014. The special audit looked at the time period of January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020 which was the first two and half years of Mayor Tim Keller’s first term.

The 6 prior audits resulted in 17 findings and recommendation made to stop the overtime pay abuse. The 2021 special audit found there was an absolute failure by APD command staff to carry out and implement the changes needed to solve the overtime problem. The released audit also identified that certain APD police union contract terms and conditions are in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act and that the police union contract has contributed significantly to the overtime pay abuse by rank-and-file police officers. According to the special audit:

“The 2014 and 2017 reports had all of the findings and recommendations necessary to fix and prevent the issues reported on in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 reports. … The logical question is – what happened? The findings were clear, as were the recommendations. However, the recommendations were not implemented.”

In its response to the audit findings, the Keller Administration issued a harsh statement blaming Mayor Tim Keller’s appointed former APD Police Chief Michael Geier for all the overtime abuse problems. The statement said in part:

“The former chief knowingly covered up overtime abuses and helped his favored employees’ game the system to enrich themselves. … The report makes it clear that the ‘tone at the top’ of APD was a major driver of the abuse and the failure to make needed changes. We didn’t hesitate to take bold action to remove the top cop and get the department back on track.”

APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos added that there will be a review of the top 20 overtime earners every quarter and said:

“There is no room for favoritism when it comes to protecting public funds. … It shouldn’t have taken multiple audits to fix APD’s overtime system. The problems and the solutions have been obvious for years. … We have a whole new chief, new deputy chiefs, the commanders of a new mayoral administration, city finance. So my assumption is they just didn’t know about these previous audits. … Under Chief Medina’s new leadership, he took quick action to implement those solutions and ensure there is an ongoing review of overtime so employees are held accountable.

Newly appointed APD Chief Harold Medina for his part said changes were happening to create more oversight and said:

“We just notified commanders of their top 20 overtime earners for the department and we’re going to ask commanders to make sure that the surface and everything looks good and that there’s no issues, and in the near future we’re going to add an audit to that. ”

Links to the quoted source material are here:


It turns out Chief Medina’s new overtime policy directive did not work with respect to Lieutenant Jim Edison who was brought to the Chief’s Office to head up APD’s COVID-19 response. It also did not stop overtime pay abuse by many other sworn officers, especially sergeants and lieutenants.

According to a March 14, 2021 KRQE News 13 Investigative report, over the course of one year, Lieutenant Jim Edison was paid $242,758 which consisted of a base pay and overtime pay. To put this staggering amount into perspective, hourly based pay for APD Lieutenants in 2020 and 2021 was $40 an hour or $83,200 a year. In other words, Edison was paid $159,558 in overtime in addition to his $83,200 base pay resulting in $242,758 paid in the one year reviewed. Edison was paid upwards of 3 times his base pay all because of overtime which is paid at the rate of time and a half.

APD sergeants and lieutenants, although management, are allowed to be members of the police union. Under the police union contract, they are required to work a 40-hour work week and are then are paid time and a half for all time reportedly worked over their 40 hour work week hours. Overtime pay must be approved in writing by supervising personnel and in advance where possible.

The $242,758 Lieutenant Jim Edison was paid in 2021 was considerably more than all of APD top command staff who he reported to in the Chief’s office. In 2021, the top 7 APD command staff were paid as follows:

Police Chief Harold Medina: $177,562.68
1st Deputy Chief Michael Jay Smathers: $149,881.56
2nd Deputy Chief Eric Garcia: , $147,444.20
Deputy Chief Cecily Barker: $147,201.70
Deputy Chief Deputy Jon Griego: $144,228.47
Deputy Chief Joshua Brown: $134,608.38
Deputy Chief Cori Lowe, $128,409.85

According to the KRQE news report, in order for Lieutenant Jim Edison to be paid $242,758 yearly figure in 2021, Edison “cheated” on his overtime pay claims every day for a full year. Even though Edison’s overtime pay claims violated APD personnel rules and regulations, APD’s top command staff in the chief’s office failed to oversee it and approved it without any questions.


Lieutenant Jim Edison’s overtime pay abuse dates back to early 2020 during the first days of the pandemic when he was transferred to the Chief’s Office to head up APD’s COVID-19 response. Edison was responsible for coordinating testing, contact tracing, pandemic-related stats, emails and phone calls. Edison’s job in the Chief’s Office was primarily administrative desk work.

According to payroll records reviewed, on a daily basis, including weekends, Edison claimed thousands of hours in “call-out overtime”. APD policy on “call-out overtime” is that it is paid to off-duty officers who are called back to work outside their regular shift. For example, if there is homicide call out, the Homicide Detective who goes to the crime scene is paid time and a half for reporting to duty in the middle of the night.

Whenever Edison was off-duty and forwarded a voicemail to someone else, Lieutenant Jim Edison claimed two hours of call-out overtime. Records reflect that it was not uncommon for Lieutenant Jim Edison to send an email at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and then claim call-out overtime.

Examples of Edison’s overtime pay claims that were found reviewing payroll records are as follows:

January 8, 2021: Edison went to Lowes to “pick up supplies” and claimed an hour call-out overtime.

January 13, 2021: The Edison put in for a half-hour of overtime to investigate who parked in a deputy chief’s parking place.

January 16, 2021: Edison claimed 12 hours in time and a half call-back overtime for making phone calls and sending emails from his home on his day off.

January 22, 2021: Edison documented 7 minutes of off-duty work and claimed 8 hours overtime.

January 31, 2021: On his day off, Edison accounted for 22 minutes of work and then claimed 10 hours hours and 30 minutes call-out overtime.

February 2, 2021: Before work, Edison emailed a routine spreadsheet to a Deputy Chief and put in for two hours call-out overtime.

From April 2020 to April 2021, Edison claimed $132,964 in dubious overtime payments. Whenever Edison was off-duty and forwarded a voicemail to someone else, he claimed 2 hours of call-out overtime. It was not uncommon for Edison to send an email at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and then claim call-out overtime.


An anonymous complaint to Albuquerque’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) launched an Internal Affairs investigation into Lieutenant Jim Edison’s overtime pay abuse. The CPOA investigator concluded Lieutenant Jim Edison violated rules, regulations and codes of conduct by cheating on his overtime. He was handed a two-week suspension.

Despite APD’s investigation, Edison continued to misrepresent overtime on his timesheets which led to a second Internal Affairs investigation. Edison’s supervisor was Deputy Chief Mike Smathers. Even though Edison’s daily overtime clearly violated APD policy, Deputy Chief Smathers never questioned the overtime work claimed by Edison on his timesheet and routinely approved his time on the department’s payroll system.

The Internal Affairs Investigator concluded Deputy Chief Smathers violated multiple rules and regulations by failing to review Edison’s timesheets. Smathers received a one-day suspension for his conduct as a result of the civilian police oversight agency investigation.

In a second Internal Affairs probe, the Investigator concluded Smathers violated APD rules and policy a second time by failing to review Lt. Edison’s timesheets. According to internal affairs Detective Anastacio Zamora:

“There is no evidence Deputy Chief Smathers conducted any follow-up with anyone [except Lt. Edison] to ensure things were done correctly.”

Deputy Chief Smathers was given a written reprimand for his role in the Internal Affairs case. Albuquerque’s Superintendent for Police Reform, Sylvester Stanley, who retired after 8 months on the job, made the final decision to discipline Deputy Chief Smathers.

APD Police Chief Harold Medina bent over backwards to defend Deputy Chief Smathers saying the one-day suspension was appropriate. Medina had this to say:

“Up here on the fifth floor of the Police Department, the executive staff, we’re so busy that to go through the fine details of looking through somebody’s timesheets is not something that we’re going to be carving out time for. … Jim Edison deceived Deputy Chief Smathers and Deputy Chief Smathers took accountability for that and was disciplined.

The biggest thing that Deputy Chief Smathers did wrong is he had faith and belief in Jim Edison. Jim Edison betrayed that trust. And it’s very difficult for me to paint a negative brush on Deputy Chief Smathers for being a good leader, respecting his people, listening to his people and believing in his people.”

In October, Lieutenant Jim Edison was fired, not for overtime pay abuse, but for retaliation against the supervisor who had turned him in for his overtime pay abuse. He is appealing his termination to Albuquerque’s Personnel Board. The Personnel Board will hear his case in April.


Former APD Chief Michael Geier was asked by KRQE News 13 Investigative reports to review Lt. Jim Edison’s payroll records. Geier said Edison’s duties were not consistent with the requirements for callout overtime and he said:

“In essence, he was creating his own overtime cash register. … I’m embarrassed for the department. It definitely is shameful. … From what I reviewed these were almost daily occurrences going on seven days a week, 24/7. I would say that it definitely is the worst (case) I’ve seen. On so many different levels this is wrong. … I’m appalled [at Deputy Chief Smathers one-day suspension. ] I couldn’t believe it when I first read it. A Deputy Chief receiving that minimal disciplinary action for such major offenses just boggles my mind.”

The link to the entire KRQE investigative report is here:


Lieutenant Jim Edison was terminated from APD in October, 2021. He has appealed his termination to Albuquerque’s Personnel Board. The Personnel Board will hear his case in April. Chief Medina said he does not believe that former Lieutenant Jim Edison has been asked to repay the department the bogus overtime payments. Law enforcement source did say Edison’s overtime case has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office for a criminal investigation.

It is more likely than not that there will be additional fallout from the Edison case. Because Lieutenant Jim Edison’s duties related exclusively to COVID-19 response, his pay, including overtime, was funded by the federal government under the Coronavirus Air Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) For that reason alone, the City of Albuquerque is responsible for reimbursing the federal government.


On October 26, 2020 the Internal Audit Department released the performance audit that found over $400,000 paid in overtime to 4 police officers. The release audit found that 4 APD Officers claimed over 2,000 hours of paid overtime, paid at the rate of time and a half, during the fiscal year of July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020. The names of the 4 police officers were never released by APD. The overtime paid average was 38 hours of overtime each 40-hour work week or 78 hours a week claimed in hours worked. During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, 2 other police officers also exceeded 2,000 hours of paid overtime. The amount paid in overtime to each of the 4 was over $100,000 for more than a total $400,000 paid.

According to the audits “Executive Summary”:

“In a sample that included 56 weeks of officer time tested, the audit identified 64 instances of overpayments totaling at least $4,545, resulting from officers being paid based on their scheduled hours, instead of the actual hours worked. In these instances, the hours reported by the officer to Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) were at least 30 minutes less than the hours the officer was scheduled and ultimately paid for.

Additionally, not all officers had CAD reports to support any non-training related hours paid. Specifically, in the sample tested there were 40 days where CADs were missing. Amounts paid related to this time totaled a minimum of $8,635. The Office of Internal Audit also found Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are outdated and not in line with best practices.

While APD has recently taken steps to limit overtime usage, opportunities exist to further these efforts. Specifically, officers are allowed to use paid time off to work overtime which can cause a cascading effect that increases APD’s need for more overtime. OIA compared APD’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) to those of four other similar police departments and found that unlike APD, three of the four other departments do not consider paid sick leave as time worked when computing overtime.

Lastly, the audit found an isolated instance where one APD employee inappropriately utilized the system login credentials of their supervisor, to approve their own time, which included overtime payments totaling $8,830 in fiscal year 2020.”

The link to the full audit report is here:

The audit found several instances of employees being paid based on their scheduled hours and not those hours they actually worked.

The Internal Audit report recommended officers be asked to pay back their wages if they were overpaid. It was also recommended regular spot checks to see if officers were really working the hours they were reporting. APD concurred with the recommendation of repayment if necessary. However, an APD spokeswoman said she was not aware of anyone being asked to repay anything.

Salaries account for upwards of 78% of APD’s annual budget of $211 million. According to the audit report:

“Overtime related costs constituted a large portion of total APD salaries paid for … the fiscal year 2019 … APD paid $17.9 million and in [2020] $18.3 million related overtime costs.”

A link to a related blog is here:


The overtime pay scandal involving Lieutenant Jim Edison is a repeat of what happened a mere two years ago, except then it involved APD Public Information Officer and Officer Simon Drobik. On Friday, April 12, 2019, it was reported that the APD Civilian Police Oversight (CPO) Agency recommended the dismissal of APD Master Police Officer 1st Class and Public Information Officer Simon Drobik as well as his former supervisor for overtime pay abuse.

The CPO Agency investigation found that in 2018, Drobik was paid $192,973 making him Albuquerque’s highest-paid employee in 2018. The investigation also found that his supervisor was one of the city’s top 11 paid wage earners. The investigation found that throughout 2018 Drobik violated overtime and pay policies more than 50 times by getting paid simultaneously for being on call as a spokesman for APD and working “chief’s overtime” and paid time and a half stationed at local businesses.

On May 2, 2019 it was reported that State Auditor Brian Colon announced that his office had begun an investigation of Drobick.

For successive years, as APD Spokesman, Drobik was routinely among the highest earners in the city. Drobik ranked No. 1 among all city employees in 2018 by being paid $192,973. In 2019, Drobik was ranked as the 7th highest wage earner in 2019. When Drobik retired in July 2020, he had already collected $106,607 for the year when his base pay rate was listed as $31.50 per hour, or $65,520 a year according city records ( $31.50 per hour X 2,080 hours a year= $65,520).


At the beginning of each calendar year, City Hall releases the top 250 wage earners for the previous year. The list of 250 top city hall wages earners is what is paid for the full calendar year of January 1, to December 31 of any given year.

Review of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 city hall 250 highest paid wage earnings reveals the extent of the staggering amount of overtime paid to APD Sergeants and Lieutenants. The lopsided number of APD sworn police officers listed in the top 250 paid city hall employees is directly attributed to the excessive amount of overtime paid to sworn police officers.

For the past 3 years in a row, over half of the top 250 wages earners at Albuquerque City Hall are APD sworn police officers in the ranks of police officer first class, senior police officer 1st class, master police officer 1st class, sergeant and lieutenant. All earned between $113,126.08 to $199,414.69 a year. All were paid hourly wages for 40-hour work week and all are paid time and a half for overtime pay.

Police officers first class, senior police officers 1st class, master police officers 1st class, sergeants and lieutenant are all members of the APD police union, they are classified employees and can only be terminated for cause. The amounts paid are two and a half times and at times 3 times more than their base yearly hourly pay primarily because of overtime pay which has been the subject of abuse and scandal in the past, including time card fraud.

All patrol officer positions and the positions of sergeant and lieutenants are classified employees, meaning not at will employees, and are permitted to be part of the police union and as such are paid time and a half for overtime worked under the union contract.

For both the years of 2019 and 2020, 160 of 250 top paid city hall employees were police who were paid between $107,885.47 to $199,666.40.

In 2019, there were 70 APD patrol officers first class, master, senior in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $108,167 to $188,844. Hourly pay rate for Patrol Officers was $29.00 an hour to $31.50 an hour depending upon years of experience.

In 2019, there were 32 APD Sergeants in the list of 250 top paid employees earning pay ranging from $109,292 to $193,666. Hourly pay rate for APD Sergeants was at the time $35 an hour, or $72,800 a year.

In 2019, there were 32 APD Lieutenants in the list of 250 top paid employees earning pay ranging from $108,031 to $164,722. Hourly pay rate for APD Lieutenants was at the time $40.00 an hour or $83,200 yearly.

In 2020, there were 69 patrol officers paid between $110,680 to $176,709.

In 2020, there were 28 APD Lieutenants and 32 APD Sergeants who were paid between $110,698 to $199,001 in the list of the 250 top paid city hall employees paid between.

The link to a related blog article is here:

For the calendar year of 2021, 126 of the top 250 city hall wage earners were sworn police officers ranging from the rank of patrol officer 1st class through to the rank of Lieutenant.

The 2021 listing of APD sworn personnel reveals that between the ranks of Senior Police Officer and Lieutenant were paid between $130,000 to over $199,000 in 2021 because of overtime.

In 2021, there were a total 52 sworn police officers in the ranks of Police Officer First Class, Senior Police Officer and Master Police Officer in the listing of the top 250 top city wage earners.

For 2021, there were 27 Sergeants and 30 Lieutenants listed in the top 250 city wage earners working for APD.


During the last 10 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budgets by millions. In fiscal year 2016, APD was funded for $9 million for over time but APD actually spent $13 million. A March, 2017 city internal audit of APD’s overtime spending found police officers “gaming the system” that allowed them to accumulate excessive overtime at the expense of other city departments. A city internal audit report released in March, 2017 revealed that the Albuquerque Police Department spent over $3.9 million over its $9 million “overtime” budget. In 2019 APD paid $17.9 million in overtime and in 2020 paid $18.3 million in related overtime costs.

Under the union contract, sworn police are entitled to overtime compensation at the rate of time-and-one-half of their regular straight-time rate when they perform work in excess of forty (40) hours in any one workweek. Time worked over 40 hours per week is compensated at time and a half of the officer’s regular rate of pay, or in the form of “compensatory time.”

There is no police union contract provision placing a cap on the amount of overtime any officer can be paid. Compensatory time is the award of hours as already worked to be paid and is calculated at the rate of 1-1/2 times the hours actually worked. The maximum accrual of comp time for any officer is 150 hours.
The union contract allows the management positions of sergeants and lieutenants to be union members. The union contract contains no accountability provisions under the Department of Justice Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The federal court appointed monitor has repeatedly found that the settlement reforms have been resisted and opposed by the police union membership of sergeants and lieutenants.

A link to a related blog article is here:


One of the most dramatic findings of the State Auditors August 6, 2021 special report prepared by in the Porch & Associates Audit is that the APD police union contract violates the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides:

“Paid leave is not considered time worked for the purposes of computing overtime”.

The audit goes as far as saying terms of the union contract need to be negotiated. The audit states that the City can save thousands of dollars in overtime by insisting that the APOA police union and APD follow the Fair Labor Standards Act. The audit also said the City should not bargain away what is established by law.

The audit recommended that the City negotiate with the police union to remove the guaranteed overtime and replace it with actual time. Actual time would start when the officer leaves their home, or work assignment if after a normal shift, through the time they get home.


The Porch & Associates Audit ignored the role of the APD Union membership of Sergeants and Lieutenants and the union contract in the entire overtime abuse scandal.

The New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act, Sections 10-7E-1 to 10-7E-26 H (NMSA 1978), governs the enforcement of the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the APD police union. Section 10-7E-5 provides for the rights of public employees and states in part:

“Public employees, other than management employees and confidential employees, may form, join or assist a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining … .”

The link to the statute is here:


A victim of fraud has the options of initiating a civil cause of action against a perpetrator to recover a loss the result of fraud or to file criminal charges.

In very general terms fraud is defined as “the false representation of facts, whether by intentionally withholding important information or providing false statements to another party for the specific purpose of gaining something that may not have been provided without the deception. Fraud is an intentional deceptive act designed to provide the perpetrator with an unlawful financial gain. Often, the perpetrator of fraud is aware of information that the intended victim is not, allowing the perpetrator to deceive the victim for personal gain. Timesheet or time card fraud is when an employee puts down hours they did not work and collects payment for those hours not worked.

Under New Mexico criminal law, fraud is defined as follows:

“Fraud consists of the intentional misappropriation or taking of anything of value that belongs to another by means of fraudulent conduct, practices or representations” When a person is convicted of fraud, full restitution is usually made a part of the sentence. Under New Mexico criminal law, it is the amount of the value of the property misappropriated or taken that determines the degree of the charges brought and sentences imposed.

It is a fourth degree felony when the value of the property misappropriated or taken is over five hundred dollars($500) but not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). A fourth degree felony convictions carry a basic sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000.

It is a third degree felony when the value of the property misappropriated or taken is over two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) but not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). A third-degree felony convictions carryss a basic sentence of up to three years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000.

It is a second degree felony when the value of the property misappropriated or taken exceeds twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). The basic sentence for most second-degree felonies is up to nine years in prison, plus a maximum fine of $10,000.



Both APD Chief Harold Medina and former APD Chief Michael Geier are a reflection of what is so very wrong with APD and on so many levels with the refusal APD management to be held accountable for their own conduct, acting like hypocrites and refusing to take full responsivity for their personnel mismanagement decisions.

It is so damn pathetic when Chief Geier said of Edison’s actions:

“In essence, he was creating his own overtime cash register. … I’m embarrassed for the department … I’m appalled … A Deputy Chief receiving that minimal disciplinary action for such major offenses just boggles my mind.”

It was under Chief Geier that APD Spokesman and Officer Simon Dolnick created his own “overtime cash register” and was paid $192,973 because of his overtime pay abuse. When the Police Oversight Agency and Board recommended that Simon Dobick be fired, Geier refused to fire him and instead attempted to implement an overtime pay cap.

It is even more pathetic when APD Chief Harold Medina says in part:

“Up here on the fifth floor of the Police Department, the executive staff, we’re so busy that to go through the fine details of looking through somebody’s timesheets is not something that we’re going to be carving out time for. … it’s very difficult for me to paint a negative brush on Deputy Chief Smathers for being a good leader, respecting his people, listening to his people and believing in his people.”

Medina had no problem of accusing former Chief Geier of cronyism and giving preferential treatment to others when it came to overtime abuse such as Simon Dolbick. Medina even ordered and audit of top department wage earners, but when it came to his Deputy Chief Smather’s, he goes to Smather’s defense and says he was “being a good leader, respecting his people, listening to his people and believing in his people.”

Given what Medina and his executive staff are paid and how top heavy the APD Chief command staff is, it can only be considered negligent personnel management for them not to pay any attention to subordinate staff requests for overtime as they sign off on overtime pay requests that takes seconds, not hours, to review. Medina was also Deputy Chief of Field Services when the Simon Dolbick fiasco occurred and he did nothing to stop it back then.


APD paying excessive overtime to a few is nothing new and has gone on for years, if not decades. Historically, time and time again, year after year, the temptation to be paid two, three, even four times more a year than what your base pay is by padding hours worked is way too great. Excessive overtime paid is a red flag for abuse of the system and proof of police resource mismanagement.

It is the mandated overtime provisions of the police union contract that has led to APD overtime pay abuse. When you add overtime paid to the base hourly pay mandated under the union contract, the net result is the sworn police can be paid twice or three times as much in base pay and well over $100,000 and upwards of $200,000 a year.

Compounding the problem is that APD sergeants and lieutenants, who are management, are allowed to be part of the union and allowed to claim overtime and be paid time and a half. Simply put, Sergeants and Lieutenants need to be removed from the collective bargaining unit in that they are management and they need to be made at will employees.

Negotiating the removal of sergeants and lieutenants from the police bargaining unit, making them at will and not being required to pay them “overtime” is an essential part of stopping the overtime pay abuse. It would have prevented it in particular with Lieutenant Jim Edison and it would also stop the top-heavy number of sergeants and lieutenants that are always in the top 250 paid city hall employees.


When then State Auditor Tim Keller was running for Mayor in 2017, he was swept into office riding on a wave of popularity he orchestrated as State Auditor for combating “waste, fraud and abuse” in government and boldly promising “transparency”. During his successful 2017 campaign for Mayor, Keller promised sweeping changes within APD. Keller promised a national search for a new APD Chief and a return to Community based policing. He proclaimed he was uniquely qualified to be Mayor because of his background.

Absent from Mayor Tim Keller for the last 4 years is any real acknowledgement of what happened on his watch and under his handpicked appointed Chiefs of Geier and Medina when it comes to the overtime pay abuses. Absent is Keller holding them accountable for their failures.

There have been no press conferences from Keller he is known for to announce what he intends to do about the APD overtime pay abuses. There has never been any statements nor even a commitment by Keller to adopt and implement all the recommendations made by the audits to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of police overtime. This coming from former State Auditor Tim Keller who made his reputation of being a “white knight” who combated “waste, fraud and abuse” and was swept into office in part because of that reputation.


Time card fraud in the private sector costs businesses billions of dollars in lost revenues and profits and is usually dealt very swiftly both civilly and criminally, with termination and criminal charges, but that is simply not the case when it comes to Albuquerque City Hall. The overtime gaming system by APD must be stopped, but that will never happen unless and until city hall and the Mayor’s office actually takes it serious. City and State Audits are worthless and useless and exercises in futility unless they are relied upon to take aggressive follow up action.

Despite all the city and state audits on APD overtime pay abuses and extensive findings of fraudulent conduct, not once has the city ever initiated civil collection actions to recover fraudulent overtime paid. At a bare minimum, the City Attorney needs make demand for reimbursement of the pay or initiate civil collection action for reimbursement of fraudulent overtime paid.

Despite repeated referrals to the New Mexico Attorney General of audits revealing overtime pay fraud, not once has the New Mexico Attorney General ever brought criminal charges. If the Attorney General is incapable, unable or simply unwilling to initiate any criminal actions, he needs to make that known and refer the overtime abuse to the Bernalillo County District Attorney. Not once has the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office been asked by the Mayor’s Office to step in and investigate time card fraud by the Albuquerque Police Department.

The fact that criminal action is never brought by prosecutors for time card fraud gives a sense of security to city employees and allows them to ignore personnel rules and regulations and to commit overtime pay card fraud. One guaranteed way of stopping anyone within APD from gaming the system is to abolish the existing system of overtime pay. Until the APD salary structure is changed, APD will always have sergeants and lieutenants making two, three and even four times their base salary.

A link to a related blog article is here:

APD Overtime Audit Reveals 7 Years Of Abuse; Keller Makes Geier Election Year Scapegoat; Negotiate New Police Union Contract Terms; Remove Sergeants and Lieutenants From Police Union; AG Or DA Need To File Criminal Charges

US Congressional Committee Investigates Otero County Commission Bogus Audit Of 2020 Election; State or Federal Legal Action Or Criminal Charges Needed, Not Polite Cease and Desist Letters

On January 13, the Otero County Commission unanimously approved a contract and services agreement with EchoMail, Inc for $49,750 at the Commission’s regular meeting on to conduct an audit of the 2020 General Election in Otero County. Otero County is a solidly Republican County, with more than 62% of residents voting for Donald Trump in 2020. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the county, yet the commission voted for the audit. Otero County Commissioners have said they are not satisfied with assurances of an accurate midterm election in 2022 by their county clerk or results of the state’s audit.

Otero County Attorney R.B. Nichols objected to the audit at the time saying:

“I have reservations and my recommendation right now would be not proceeding with the audit. … [The New Mexico Elections Code has processes] in place for audits but does not have a procedure for the type of audit this would be. … anything election-related is mandated by the election code … If it’s not in the code, then it is not something that is doable.”

The Otero County Commission accepted a proposal from Echo-Mail, one of the contractors hired by Arizona’s Republican-controlled state senate to review election results in Maricopa County. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver issued a warning about the audit telling area residents to be wary of what she called intrusive questions and potential intimidation by door-to-door canvassers.

EchoMail is the same company that assisted with a chaotic audit in Maricopa County, Arizona. EchoMail, in turn, contracted the “New Mexico Audit Force” or NMAF, a group that is part of the Telegram group that routinely promotes election conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, to knock on Otero County doors and asking people for information about their household and how they voted. The Telegram group pledged that its members would not misrepresent themselves as county employees when they conduct a “canvas” of local voter rolls. Weeks later, state officials say members of the group are misrepresenting themselves as county officials possibly opening the county up to lawsuits. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver called the group’s efforts a “vigilante audit.”


State Auditor Brian Colón sent a letter on March 14 to the Otero County commission saying the county is deficient in its ability to properly oversee the contract compliance by EchoMail. Colón’s letter stated that the $49,750 election audit is not in the best interest of residents and amounts to political grandstanding. Colón wrote:

“It appears that the County Commission failed to treat their government position as a public trust and instead used the powers and resources of their public office to waste public resources in pursuit of private interests concerning unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. … [It] appears the County Commissioners may have abused their power in approving the County’s contract with the vendor for an ‘election audit’ that was not in the best interests of constituents and seemingly purely political grandstanding. The stated purpose and methodology of the ‘audit’ gives the appearance of the entire affair simply being a careless and extravagant waste of public funds, which does not appear to serve any useful purpose to the taxpayers of Otero County. … [A]additional concerns … suggest that … volunteer canvassers at the direction of the contractor are falsely representing themselves as employed by the County. … The [Office of the State Auditor] has concerns of potential liability for the County in connection with alleged civil rights violations of its citizens.”


On March 16, it was reported that a United State Congressional Oversight committee has opened an investigation into the Otero County Commissions 2020 election audit. The House Oversight Committee issued a letter to the head of EchoMail requesting the company to produce documents and information regarding its forensic audit in Otero County and has until March 31 to respond to its letter and hand over the documents requested in the New Mexico probe.

The committee said it is looking into potential intimidation by volunteers who are going door to door canvassing voters in Otero County and asking intrusive questions. According to news reports, the voter canvass is already underway and more than 60 Otero County residents have contacted state and local officials expressing concerns about interactions with the canvassers.

The announcement of the US Congressional Committee’s probe comes weeks after Democrat New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said that many Otero County residents have been caught off guard and intimidated when approached by canvassers who are affiliated with the New Mexico Audit Force group and claiming in some instances to be county employees.

EchoMail was one of the contractors hired by Republican Arizona state lawmakers to review the 2020 election in Maricopa County and provide a report on ballot envelope images. The ended in without producing any proof to support Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. Maricopa County election officials election found that nearly every finding by the contractors included faulty analysis, inaccurate claims, misleading conclusions and a lack of understanding of federal and state election laws.

The House Oversight Committee said in the letter to EchoMail:

“The Committee is investigating whether your company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters.”

The House Oversight Committee said EchoMail has until March 31 to respond to its letter and hand over the documents requested in the New Mexico probe.


The Otero County Commission actions with their bogus audit makes it clear just how sinister Republicans have become spreading the “big lie” the elections are rigged and to what extent they will go to. Republicans, such as the Otero County Commission, are not at all interested in free elections and access to the ballot.

What Republicans want is absolute control of the ballot box to ensure that the only votes to be counted are those votes that will ensure any Republicans victory. The Republican County Commission with its audit have bought into the national Republican goal of making sure that only those votes cast for Republican candidates are the votes that are counted.

The powers and authority of the New Mexico Secretary of State and the State Auditor are some what limited to what they can actually do other than write demand letters expressing concern or order audits that are time consuming. Letters and statements issued by the Secretary of State, State Auditor and even the United State House Committee are commendable, but they are the least line offense to protect constitutional rights, civil rights and to protect people from voter intimidation.

Right wing extremist to do not care if their actions are illegal, as is evidenced by what happened in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. “Cowboy’s for Trump” founder and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is about to learn with his upcoming federal trial just how serious interfering with constitutionally protected elections is really all about.

Trying to be diplomatic with the likes of right wing conspiracy theorist and right wing politicians who suck off of people’s worst fears to spend taxpayer money gets you no where and no where fast. The New Mexico Attorney General or for that matter the United’s States Attorney for the District of New Mexico should be far more aggressive and should initiate a civil complaint for injunctive relief or file criminal charges for voter intimidation against the Otero County Commission, EchoMail and “New Mexico Audit Force”. Removal of the entire Otero County Commission needs to be the first step.

The link to a related blog article is here:

Republicans Refusing To Accept Defeat; Bogus Election Fraud Claims; Voter Suppression And Invalidating Votes More Important to Republicans Than Ballot Access; UNM 2020 Election Administration And Voter Security Report

Republicans Refusing To Accept Defeat; Bogus Election Fraud Claims; Voter Suppression And Invalidating Votes More Important to Republicans Than Ballot Access; UNM 2020 Election Administration And Voter Security Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contained in the postscript to this article is an executive summary of the University of New Mexico “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by the UNM Political Science Department. The report is very enlightening revealing much information about New Mexico voters, demographics, voter attitudes on election security, mail in ballots, ballot privacy, identification for voting, in person voting, voter confidence election, voter fraud, and the differing attitudes of Biden versus Trump voters, the electoral college versus popular election vote for president, rank choice voting and publicly financing of campaigns. The report answers the question, at least in New Mexico, just how secure voters felt about the 2020 election.

For the last 18 months, former President Trump has constantly said that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged, that he actually won by a landslide, despite failing to offer a scintilla of evidence. Upwards of 56 federal lawsuits challenging the 2020 Presidential elections, especially in battleground states that Trump lost, were dismissed as being frivolous with no evidence of fraud offered. Many of the cases were dismissed by federal judges he appointed, including those on the United State Supreme Court.

The truth is that 2020 election was the most secured election in United State history. Federal Courts at all levels, including Trump appointees, threw out court challenges and dismissed cases as quickly filed by Der Führer Trump supporters and finding a failure to offer any evidence of voter fraud.

Republicans on the national level, especially in battleground states, have all bought into Der Führer Trump’s arguments that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen from him. Republican Party’s in control of state legislatures have enacted sweeping election laws making it harder to vote and making it easier for mail in ballot rejections and to set aside elections by Republican controlled legislatures.

The State of Texas is a good example as to how far Republicans are going to affect election outcomes by simply not counting votes. On March 16, 2022, it was reported thousands of Texas voters had their mail ballots rejected in this month’s primary, after the state’s controversial new voting law created additional ID requirements. Local election officials said the new identification requirements as a result of the Republican-backed law tripped up many eligible voters in the March 1 primary.

An Associated Press analysis released on March 16 found that a total of nearly 23,000 mail ballots were rejected across the majority of Texas’ counties. Most notably, in Harris County, home to Houston, and the state’s most populous county, officials said they rejected a whopping 19% percent of the mail ballots they received, or 6,888 mail ballots in total. During the primary election in 2018, the county had only rejected 135 mail ballots out of more than 48,000, election officials said in a statement. That’s less than 0.3


In New Mexico, questions about election irregularities and fraud continue to circulate in Republican dominated counties. In January, the Otero County Commission authorized a $49,750 contract for a countywide review of election records and voter registration information linked to the 2020 general election Trump won nearly 62% of the vote in Otero County in 2020 but county commissioners have said they are not satisfied with assurances of an accurate midterm election in 2022 by their county clerk or results of the state’s risk-limiting audit.

The Otero County Commission accepted a proposal from Echo-Mail, one of the contractors hired by Arizona’s Republican-controlled state senate to review election results in Maricopa County. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver issued a warning about the audit telling area residents to be wary of what she called intrusive questions and potential intimidation by door-to-door canvassers.

State Auditor Brian Colón’s office sent a letter on March 14 to the Otero County commission saying the county is deficient in its ability to properly oversee contract compliance. The letter stated that the audit isn’t in the best interest of residents and amounts to political grandstanding. Colón wrote:

“It appears that the County Commission failed to treat their government position as a public trust and instead used the powers and resources of their public office to waste public resources in pursuit of private interests concerning unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. ”


The 2022 New Mexico legislature failed to the voting rights bills sponsored by Albuquerque area Democrat Senator Katy Duhigg and Corrales Area Democrat Representative Daymon Ely. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver had made its passage a priority. The Democratic majority floor leaders in both chambers, Santa Fe Senator Peter Wirth of Santa Fe and Albuquerque Representative Javier Martínez of Albuquerque, support the measures

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver passage had this to say about supporting passage of the voting rights bill:

“Even as we’ve seen attempts around the country to make voting more difficult for eligible voters … here in New Mexico we continue to be a leader in how to balance the demands for voter access with the needs of maintaining our high levels of election security.”

Not at all surprising, many New Mexico Republicans followed Republican national talking points when it came to opposing the proposed voting rights bills and said the changes would lead to “fraud and confusion”. Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce went so far as to say the changes will “damage the security and integrity of New Mexico elections.”

The links to quoted news source material is here:

The voting rights bill failed to be enacted by the Senate after passage in the House. Der Führer Trump Republican Senator William Sharer, R-Farmington, effectively killed the measure with a filibuster on the Senate floor. In order to run out the clock on the legislative session, Sharer talked about San Juan River fly-fishing, baseball rules, Navajo Code Talkers and the celestial alignment of the sun and moon during his lengthy filler buster on the Senate floor.
The bill would have done the following:

1. Established a permanent absentee voter list.
2. Allowed voters to sign up once to receive absentee ballots for every general election, rather than having to apply for one each time.
3. Established a Native American voting rights act.
4. Directed counties to offer two secured, monitored drop boxes for absentee ballots.
5. Made it a crime to threaten or intimidate state and county election officials.
6. Restored the voting rights of people convicted of a felony upon release from incarceration, rather than after they’ve completed probation or parole.


The “big lie” is the name of a propaganda technique, originally coined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and denotes where a known falsehood is stated and repeated and treated as if it is self-evidently true, in hopes of swaying the course of an argument in a direction that takes the big lie for granted rather than critically questioning it or ignoring it.

On October 27, 2020, exactly one week before the Presidential election, President Trump continued to push his own “big lie” about our Presidential election and had this to say:

“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.”

Since day one after losing the 2020 Presidential election, Der Führer Former President Trump has claimed without evidence that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Trump has also periodically attacked former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021, after hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the United States Capitol in a bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president and took over the House Chamber to stop of the process.

On January 29, 2022 “Der Führer” Trump angerly lashed out at a rally in Conroe, Texas against the ongoing criminal investigations in New York, Georgia and Washington. Trump went so far as to call on his supporters to stage mass protests if he is “mistreated” by prosecutors, ostensibly meaning if he is charged or indicted for crimes. Trump said:

“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt.”

Trump also said he would “consider” pardoning defendants charged in connection with the January 6 , 2021 Capitol riot if he returns to the White House and said:

“Another thing we’ll do, and so many people have been asking me about it, if I run and if I win we will treat those people from January 6 fairly. … And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”


During a 2016 presidential debate in which Trump had faced off against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, FOX news caster Mike Wallace asked then candidate Trump if he was prepared to concede to the winner, if he didn’t win. “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense,” Trump said during the debate. He had also said that if he did not win it meant the election was rigged.

Fast forward to July 15, 2020. In an exclusive wide-ranging interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, President Trump was asked if he was “a good loser”. Trump said that he wasn’t a good loser and he went on to add that he thinks “mail-in voting is going to rig the election.” This led Wallace to ask whether Trump may not accept the results of the election and Trump said “We’ll have to see.”

On September 23, Trump was asked at a press conference if he would “commit to a peaceful transferal of power” if he lost the election, Trump said:

“Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens. … You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster … Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful … there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”


Since the Wallace interview, Trump has engaged in repeated attacks on mail in voting as a pathway to voter fraud. It is a claim that is largely unsubstantiated and is an outright lie that Trump keeps repeating.

In April, Trump responding to a question about Wisconsin wanting to go to mail-in ballots said:

“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters. … They’re fraudulent in many cases.”

Trump has also said that any expansion of mail ballots would lead to widespread fraud. Attorney General William Barr for his part said people should need an excuse to vote by mail. Trump has said no-excuse absentee voting is fine but claimed the Postal Service couldn’t handle the increase in election mail.

Trump laid the foundation to dispute the election outcome with his incessant lies that “mail-in ballots” will result in a rigged election.

Trump’s false claims have been used as an excuse for the Republican Party to purge voter-registration rolls, limit mail-in ballots, close polling stations in minority areas and challenge in-person voting by minorities. The best example was with the state of Texas where Governor Abbot ordered only one polling place or drop off for ballots per county that has millions residents and requiring hours of driving to hand deliver ballots.

Election experts say Trump’s critiques of mail-in voting is just another one of his many lies. Instead, what happened is that mail in voting improved voter turnout on the whole and there is little evidence that it had a partisan effect by benefitting one party over the other.

The experts were proven right that mail in voting improved voter turnout overwhelmingly. Over 71 million people cast their ballots in 2020 with early voting or mail in voting around the United States, surpassing the 58.3 million total pre-election votes cast in 2016. That’s almost half of the total presidential votes cast four years ago.


The postscript to this blog article gives a summary of the UNM 2020 Election Administration and Voter Security Report. Taken as a whole, it makes it clear just how fragile our democracy can be by just spreading the big lie and Republicans are not at interested in free elections and access to the ballot. What Republicans want is absolute control of the ballot box to ensure that the only votes to be counted are those votes that will ensure Republican victory.

Nationally, legislatures controlled by Republicans in red states are making major changes to their election laws to give Republicans in charge of administering election counts the power to merely invalidate election results and votes and making it as difficult as possible to vote in order to suppress voter registrations and invalidate election outcomes. Simply put, the goal of Republicans is not election security but to make sure that only those votes cast for Republicans are the votes that are counted.

What Der Führer Trump and Republican shills like Der Führer Party Chairman Steve Pearce always argue is that any changes to election laws that make it easier to register to vote and to vote “damage the security and integrity of elections” without offering any proof. The only damage to the security and integrity of our elections is when Republicans like Trump and Pierce undermine the credibility of elections with the big lies.

No doubt Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was disappointed in the New Mexico legislature failure to enact the voting rights bill all because of a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Notwithstanding, she can take great comfort in the findings of the “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by the University of New Mexico. The report is a clear reflection she has done her job well and it is a testament to her success despite Republican obstructionist doing whatever they can to prevent access to the ballot.

One thing is certain, during the 2023 legislatives session, the efforts to enact a voting rights act must be renewed.




On January 26, the “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Security, and Election Reform Report” prepared by University Of New Mexico Political Science Department was released. It is the 8th time such a post-election report has been prepared released by UNM. It was prepared with the assistance from the Secretary of State’s Office using funds from the Help America Vote Act. This research is conducted to help guide New Mexico election policy and incorporate public understanding of the process into those reforms. It is also meant to serve as a guide to voters about the health of their state democracy and backdrop of elections in New Mexico. The 2020 election report is 132 pages long and contains numerous graphs and statistics. Click here to read the full report:

This blog article is an edited summary of the report with headiness and categories.


“There were 1,330,910 registered voters in the 2020 general election. Of those, 928,230 New Mexicans voted. This represents the largest turnout in recent NM history with a statewide turnout rate of 69.7% for registered voters and 61.3% of eligible voters.

Democrats made up 48% of registered voters, but only 46% of voters in 2020. Republicans made up 31% of registered voters, but 34% of voters. Decline-to-State (DTS) and other party members made up 24% of registered voters, but only 18% of voters.

Seventy percent of NM counties are landslide counties, and nearly 2/3 (66%) of 2020 voters live in a landslide county. Landslide counties are counties where the difference between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidate is larger than 20%. 45% of voters live in blue counties, while 21% of voters live in red counties. 35% of 2020 voters voted by mail, 49% voted early in-person, and 16% voted on Election Day.

Historically there are only small differences in vote mode decisions across partisan groups. But in 2020 Democrats (45%) were more likely to vote-by-mail than “Decline to State/Other (34%), and Republicans (22%).”


“54% of 2020 voters were women, with men comprising the other 46%. These are the same percentages [as] … in 2018. Women make up 53% of registered voters, which suggests that women have a slightly higher turnout rate than men.

Women are far more likely to identify as a Democrat than men (49% vs 40%). Men are more likely to be DTS/other than women (26% vs. 22%). Men are also more likely to be GOP than women (34% vs 29%).”


“Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 made up a larger proportion of voters in 2020 (13%) than they did in 2018 (10%). Voters ages 30-44 made up 21% of voters, voters ages 45-64 made up 34%, and voters age 65 and over made up 31% of the electorate.

NM recently adopted very open policies for voter choice, such that voters who request an absentee VBM ballot could change their mind and vote a regular ballot in-person. To do so, voters are required to sign an affidavit indicating that they did not vote their absentee ballot. A small proportion (.9%) of voters, but a large number (33,309) of voters took advantage of this option. Given the large number of voters who took this option, it appears to be both a popular and an effective policy …”



“Vote-By-Mail voters typically only made up about 10% of voters in the last several elections, but in 2020 that number more than tripled to 35%. 22% percent of voters indicated they chose to vote by mail because of COVID, while other reasons for voting by mail included being out of town (3%), convenience (18%), other obligations on Election Day (2%), and a physical disability (3%).

About three-fifths (59%) of vote by mail were completed online. A little over three in ten voters (32%) returned the received-in-mail application forms requesting an absentee ballot. About 4% of voters indicated they used a 3rd party vote by mail request, and 8% contacted the county clerk by phone, email, or in-person to request one.

Absentee voters frequently logged on to their voter registration record to see if their ballot arrived at the county clerk’s office or to check their voter registration. [It was recommended] adding a feature that provides information on whether the voter’s ballot was accepted for counting.”


The following three questions were asked:

(1) “Who returned your ballot or dropped it in the mail?”
(2) “Did you return someone else’s ballot?” and
(3) If so, “Whose ballot did you return?”

Nearly nine in ten (87%) voters returned their ballots themselves. One in ten voters (10%) indicated that a member of their family returned their ballot. About one in 100 voters (1%) said a friend returned their ballot. About two in ten voters (17%) indicated they returned someone else’s ballot.

Of those who indicated they returned another voters’ ballot, nearly three in four (73%) indicated the ballot belonged to their spouse, while 15% of voters said they returned a parent’s ballot and 15% indicated they returned a child’s ballot. Over one in ten voters (12%) returned another family member’s ballot, and one in 100 returned their friend’s ballot.

[It was also asked of] voters who returned someone else’s ballot: “How many ballots did you return?” 73% returned one or two ballots, while about 12% returned three, 4% returned four, and 3% returned five. No one indicated that they returned more than 5 ballots.

[It was found] that 64% of vote by mail voters mailed their ballot through the USPS, with the remaining 36% of voters dropping it off at an early vote location, ballot drop box, or county clerk office.

NM law requires that ballots be returned by either the voter or an immediate family member … .
The outside envelope to vote by mail ballots has a place to indicate if it is not being returned by the voter and their relationship to the voter.

[Observing mail balloting] … different jurisdictions handle ballots not returned by the voter differently. In some cases, ballots were being set aside if the person delivering the ballot was not an immediate family member, in other cases they were not. We asked a person in charge of a vote by mail precinct and she indicated that in previous years ballots were not processed if they were not delivered by a parent or child of a voter, however, this year the vote by mail precinct boards were instructed to count all the ballots regardless of who delivered them.

There was a change in statute in 2019 regarding the issue of 3rd party vote by mail ballot delivery. The new language indicates it is a “violation of law for any person who is not an immediate family member to collect and deliver a ballot.” But there are no consequences for violating the law, and, therefore the law does not effectively prevent ballot harvesting. [It is recommended] clarification since similar laws without consequences in other states have resulted in political parties and other groups engaging in ballot harvesting.


NM in-person voters, on average, reported waiting about 20 minutes to vote. This is much longer than voters waited in line in 2018 (6 minutes). In NM, Election Day voters were in line for much shorter periods of time than early voters, 13 minutes versus 22 minutes. In 2018 early voting took, on average, 4.5 minutes, and Election Day voting lines averaged 8 minutes.

[Voters were asked] their level of agreement with the statement:

“The poll workers were helpful.”

94% of voters agreed with this statement, with 53% strongly agreeing and 41% agreeing. Roughly 6% of voters disagreed with the above statement.


“To assess ballot privacy, … voters we asked if poll workers looked at their ballot. Only 5% of voters indicated that this happened to them. We also asked if other voters looked at their ballot: 2% responded yes. [It was] found that 2% of voters indicated that another voter in line asked them who they voted for.

Privacy sleeves help to increase voter confidence by protecting ballot privacy. Yet in 2020, [it was found] … that only about one in five voters were offered a privacy sleeve. About 29% of voters in Bernalillo County used a privacy sleeve, with rates of 35% in Colfax, 34% in Socorro, and 52% in Otero. In general, however, it was not broadly used.”


“Following Center for Disease Control guidelines regarding masks and social distancing in the polling places appears to have been successful. Ninety-six percent of voters agreed with the statement “I felt safe voting in-person.” Only 4% indicated otherwise. We found over nine in ten (97%) voters said that all of the poll workers in their voting center wore a mask. We also found that 89% of voters were standing 6 feet apart inside the polling location.”


“Overall, 99% of voters indicated their polling station was easy to find. Relatedly, we also found that the vast majority of voters (92%) did not feel that they had to go far out of their way to vote, regardless of whether they voted early or on Election Day. Over 90% of voters found it easy to park at their polling location.”


“[Voters were asked] what type of identification they provided at the polls. About ½ of in person voters statewide indicated that they provided the poll worker with the minimum identification–their name, address and birth year. But almost three in ten (31%) were asked for or provided a photo or non-photo ID. It was estimated that 84% of voters were identified correctly with the minimum voter identification or with the voter’s preferred method, while 16% were identified incorrectly, and about 5% were uncertain. This is very comparable to what we found in 2018.

When we look at this by demographic groups, we find some small differences. For example, Asian voters indicated they were correctly identified the most frequently at 91% of the time, whites reported being identified correctly 87% of the time. Hispanics, biracial and multiracial voters indicated they were correctly identified 82% of the time. Blacks indicated they were correctly identified only 70% of the time, and Native Americans only 75% of the time.

Other demographic groups were more consistent, with men, women, and age groups being correctly identified at about the same rate.”


“Just over half (56%) of voters were very confident and another one in five (21%) were somewhat confident that their vote was counted correctly. Thus, about three in four voters (77%) were very or somewhat confident that their ballot was counted correctly. About one in ten voters (12%) were not too confident and another one in ten (11%) were not at all confident (5%).

Similar results are seen for county level voter confidence with 74% of voters indicating they were very (54%) or somewhat (20%) confident, while 16% stated that they are not confident, with 10% not too and 6% not at all confident.

A majority (70%) of voters indicated their confidence in state-level results, with 51% reporting high confidence and 19% medium confidence. 29% were not confident with 14% not too confident and 15% not at all confident.”


Voters were least confident of the national results, with about three in five voters (59%) indicating they were very (41%) or somewhat (18%) confident and about two in five voters (41%) indicating they are not too (13%) or not at all (28%) confident.

The average Democratic voter had a confidence level of 3.81 out of 4, close to “very confident.” But the average personal voter confidence for Republicans was much lower, at 2.48. This would correlate with somewhere between “not too confident” and “somewhat confident.”

“Decline to State” and third-party voters had an average score of 3.16, which puts them close to “somewhat confident.” Individual experiences matter to voter confidence. Feelings that ballot privacy was protected increases confidence. 21% of voters who thought their ballot privacy was not well protected were confident, compared to 72% of voters who thought their ballot privacy was protected. However, it is important to note that only 6% of all voters thought their privacy was not protected.

Helpful poll workers also increase voter confidence. Only 10% of voters who thought a poll worker was not helpful were very confident, compared to 50% of voters who thought their poll worker was helpful.

Similarly, having a positive interaction with the county clerk or the Secretary of State’s office improves voter confidence. For example, one third of voters who were not satisfied with their county clerk’s response when contacted were very confident, while 72% of those who were very satisfied were very confident.

Vote confidence was not dependent on voters’ method of returning their ballot. Voters who dropped off their ballot in-person were equally confident as those who mailed it in.

More than one-third (37%) of voters believe that their vote is not secret, while just over one-quarter (27%) believe that it is. The remainder (36%) were unsure.

Voters who agreed that election officials could not access their voting records had an average personal confidence of 3.79. Voters who thought their records were accessible by officials had a personal confidence of 2.75, a full one-point difference. For those who didn’t know, the difference was 0.4 points (average 3.39). Given the incredible size of the gap, we recommend a campaign to inform voters that their ballot is secret and how that secrecy is maintained throughout the process.

This year we sampled and surveyed a random cross section of early and VBM voters both prior to and after the election. We compared these groups to see how winning and losing affected attitudes toward voter confidence.


“The results show that, even before the election, Biden voters were more confident in the election processes than Trump voters, but the size of the gap varies by level of administration. In the pre-election wave, national confidence was the closest, with only a 0.32 spread between the two groups, followed by personal confidence’s 0.38 spread.

After the election, Biden voters’ confidence levels increased, while Trump voters’ decreased. Biden voters increases were moderate for personal, county, and state, ranging from 0.25 (personal) to 0.38 (county), but at the national level, the increase was quite large increasing over a full point (1.03). Trump supporters’ confidence decline ranged from -0.47 to -0.81 with the lowest decline at the state level (-.47) and the largest declines at both the personal (-.80) and national (-.81) levels. County confidence decreased by nearly three-fifths of a point (-.59).

These changes in confidence post-election led to increasing voter confidence polarization across party supporters and consequently larger gaps between voting groups. The gap was monotonic, increasing between Biden and Trump voters as the level of administration increased from personal to national. Thus, the postelection gap was 1.46 points for personal confidence, but was 2.16 points for national confidence.

This suggests that the impact of winning and losing is rather large, substantially increasing the gap once the winner is known. For example, the gap is 3.8 times larger for post-election voter confidence at the personal level and 6.75 times larger at the national level.”


“Three-quarters (74%) of voters were at least sometimes asked by family and friends who they voted for. The remaining one out of four (26%) voters were rarely (16%) or never asked (10%) their candidate preference.

When asked by a friend or family member which candidate a voter preferred, most voters named a candidate most of the time (23%) or almost all of the time (48%). Fewer voters sometimes (16%), rarely (6%), or never (13%) named a candidate.

An overwhelming majority of voters were always (85%) or mostly (8%) truthful in naming the candidate they preferred when asked. Fewer voters were sometimes (4%), rarely (1%) or never (2%) truthful in stating the candidate they preferred.”


“… Voters were asked if they believed that others could find out who they voted for without their personal disclosure. The questions were:
1) “How easy or hard do you think it would be for politicians, union officials, or the people you work for to find out who you voted for, even if you told no one?”
2) “Do you think elected officials can access voting records and figure out who a voter had voted for?”

Roughly one in six voters (16%) think that it is impossible for someone to find out who another person voted for, and another 12% indicated they didn’t know, leaving over 70% of voters believing it is possible to learn someone’s vote choices without their consent. Interestingly, one-third said it is somewhat or very easy.

A plurality of voters (38%) believed that elected officials are able to learn who voters chose on their ballots. 28% of voters do not believe elected officials can determine their vote, and another 34% indicated they did not know.

There appears to be a partisan dimension to ballot privacy, with more Democrats (25%) believing it is impossible for others to find out who they voted for compared to independents (12%) and Republicans (7%).”


“Nearly four out of five NM voters (79%) said they did not have anyone try to convince, tell, threaten, or mark their ballot for a candidate they did not prefer to vote for.
For those one in five voters (21%) who did report that they experienced one or more persuasive or coercive actions, 18% experienced someone trying to convince them to vote a particular way, 13% experienced someone telling them to vote for a certain candidate, and 3% were threatened. Hardly anyone (0.2%) experienced someone marking their ballot for them.

[Voter were given] a list of possible illegal election activities and asked, “Which of the following situations did you personally observe in the 2020 general election?” Over three-quarters (77%) of NM voters indicated they did not personally witness any of these election fraud or irregular voting activities. 21% indicated they saw one or more election problems and 3% gave no response.

Of the illegal activities listed, the highest response was for unsolicited absentee ballots that 11 did not belong to anyone in the household arriving at the voter’s residence. This occurred 7% of the time, a surprisingly high frequency.

Given the high percentage of responses from voters who received ballots for other voters not living in the household, it was recommended to the Secretary of State to consider instructions to voters about what to do when they receive such ballots. In addition, it was … [recommended to the Secretary of State] to set up an online registry that voters can use to identify and report these erroneous ballots so that the [Secretary of State] can determine why ballots are being sent to wrong locations and their implications for ballot security and chain of custody issues.

Voters were allowed to indicate if they were unsure about how frequently an activity may occur within the state. Across the 13 illegal activities, don’t know responses ranged from 13%-33%. For one activity, tampering with ballots to change votes, the don’t know response was the mode (33%).

Among all possible activities … examined, voters were most concerned about the possibility the Secretary of State would make rules that favor one party or another. Nearly half (41%) of voters believe this happens at least some of the time with 21% indicating it happens all or most of the time and another 20% indicating it happens some of the time.”


“Voters are split on the prevalence of non-US citizens voting in NM. Over one in three voters (36%) believe that non-US citizens vote all or most of the time (16%) or some of the time (20%), compared to 36% of voters who believe that non-US citizens hardly ever (21%) or never (15%) vote.

About 3 in 10 voters (29%) believe that someone pretends to be another person and casts a vote for them, while 51% believe it happens not much of the time (9%), hardly ever (21%), or never (21%).

About three in ten New Mexicans believe that voters are intimidated into voting for someone other than their preferred candidate most or some of the time. A similar proportion believe that voted absentee ballots are stolen and thrown away after being submitted.

Despite the rhetoric of the 2020 election regarding fraud, [the study] found that belief in fraud was less in 2020 than it was in 2008.

[Voters were] asked if they personally witnessed election or voter fraud in any election they participated in and if it changed the outcome of that election. 8% of voters said they witnessed election or voter fraud in a previous election. Among these, over one in three thought that the fraud changed the outcome of the election, while two in five (41%) indicated it did not.”


“[Respondents] were asked the degree to which they agreed with the statement:

“Photo identification should be required for each voter at the polls.”

77% of voters support voter ID requirements (with 57% indicating they strongly agree and 20% indicating they somewhat agree).

A majority of voters in all partisan groups support voter identification policies. It was found found that 61% of Democrats, 77% of independents, and 96% of Republicans support voter ID laws.”


“[Respondents were asked]:

“Thinking about elections and election reforms, which is more important to you, ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote or protecting the voting system against fraud?

In 2020, just over half (51%) indicated that ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote is more important, while 46% indicated that it was protecting the system against fraud, and 3% said don’t know.

Nearly 78% of Democrats, compared to 18% of Republicans, believe it is more important to ensure that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote. Republicans express similar support in the opposite direction. 79% of Republicans believe that protecting the system against fraud is more important than expanding the franchise, compared to nearly two in ten Democrats.

Gender does appear to influence responses. Women expressed more support for ensuring everyone has access to the vote (55%) than protecting the system against fraud (41%). 3% percent responded they don’t know. Women are more likely to be Democrats, so this finding is also related to partisanship.

Black and Native American voters were the most likely racial groups to feel it was important to ensure everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (60% and 61%, respectively) over protecting the system against fraud (37% and 36%, respectively).

Whites also were more likely to support ensuring everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (53%) compared to protecting the system against fraud 45%.

Hispanics and Asian Americans were the most likely groups to feel that protecting the system from fraud was more important (51% and 62%, respectively) than ensuring everyone who is eligible has the right to vote (47% and 36%, respectively).

Consistent with previous reports, more educated voters showed greater support for ensuring that everyone who is eligible has the right to vote. 60% of voters with at least a college degree indicated it was more important to ensure the right to vote, compared to only 38% of voters with a high school degree.

57% of voters with a high school degree indicated protecting the system against fraud was more important, compared to 37% of voters with at least a college degree. Education is also correlated with party, which influences these demographic differences.”


“To assess how voters feel about the current NM voter ID law, [respondents] were asked:

“New Mexico’s in-person voter ID law requires voters to state their address, name and birth year. Do you think this requirement is: too strict, just right, or not strict enough?”

The findings indicate 55% of voters believe the current law is just right while 42% believe it is not strict enough. 3% of voters said the ID law was too strict. We can see over time that support for the current law has been increasing.

There is a partisan divide related to attitudes towards NM’s voter ID law. Where 81% of Democrats believe the Voter ID law is just right, only 22% of Republicans feel the same. Likewise, 77% of Republicans believe the law is not strict enough, compared to 14% of 13 Democrats. DTS and other party voters indicated that NM’s law was not strict enough, and 52% indicated it was just right.”


“Respondents were asked:

“How do you think we should elect the President: should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

60% of voters supported electing the President based on who received the most votes across the U.S. and that 39% of voters believe we should keep the current Electoral College system.

This number is similar to the 62% found in 2012, 2016, and 2018, but significantly less than the 72% found in 2014.

In 2020, 83% of Democrats, 31% of Republicans, and 54% of Independents supported selecting the candidate who wins the most popular votes nationally to serve as President.

Nearly three-quarters of voters (74%) support the change to keep the last four of a voter’s Social Security Number as part of the vote by mail ballot integrity; only 14% indicated a signed affidavit was enough. 12% indicated they don’t know.”


Respondents were asked:

“New Mexico should move to permanent all-mail elections.”

Overall, more than 7 out of 10, or 72%, of New Mexico voters disagreed with moving to all-mail elections. A majority (52%) of voters disagreed with it strongly, another one in five (20%) voters somewhat disagreed. Only 9% of voters strongly agreed that we should move to all-mail elections and another almost one in five (19%) somewhat agreed.

While a majority of all partisan groups are opposed to moving to all mail elections, we do find a large disparity between groups. While 94% of Republicans are opposed, only 76% of independents and 53% of Democrats disagree with the potential change.

A majority (51%) of VBM voters supported moving to all mail elections, but a huge majority of in-person early (83%) and Election Day voters (88%) expressed disagreement with moving to all-mail elections. Clearly experiencing the VBM process increases support for this election change, but even for those voters there is not a huge swell of support for all mail elections.


“Respondents were asked:

“Ranked choice voting or instant run-off voting is an election reform that allows voters to rank candidates from their favorite to least favorite.”

A plurality of voters were unsure about this reform (41%), followed by 32% in favor and 26% opposed.

When … voters [were asked how they feel] about Rank Choice Voting in cities where it has been implemented we find that the mode moves from “don’t know” to support for RCV, but it is not majority support. About two in five voters support RCV in the city of Las Cruces (41%) and the city of Santa Fe (40%), while three in 10 voters (31%) support RCV in locations where it has not been used.”


Voter were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the following:

“An Independent Redistricting Commission should be created to determine district boundaries after the 2020 Census.”

In principle, voters support an independent commission, with 79% of voters in support. 47% of voters strongly supported and 32% of voters somewhat 14 supported such a change. A majority of Democrats (82%), independents (81%), and Republicans (75%) support an Independent Redistricting Commission.

Voters were asked:

“Next year NM will draw new district lines in response to the U.S. Census. Do you think: They should create electoral districts that hold communities together even if it means that one party will dominate [or] they should create electoral districts where there is close competition between the two parties, even if it means that communities will be disconnected.”

The modal response was “don’t know” with two in five voters selecting that option (44%). Among partisan groups, Republicans’ mode response was competition (43%), while Democrats’ (48%) and independents’ (42%) was still don’t know.


“[Voters were asked if] they agreed with the statement:

“All candidates for elected offices should be eligible to receive public financing for their campaigns.”

Voters were evenly split. Half indicated support for public financing and half did not, suggesting a decrease from 2018, when 65% were in support. Support for public financing also differed by party. A majority of Republicans (61%) and DTS/other (54%) voters did not support public financing, while a majority of Democrats (61%) supported it.”

Governor Should Call “Special Session” To Enact New $50 Million Spending Bill And Rebates, Suspend Gas Tax And Enact “Omnibus Gun Violence And Gun Control Act”; Unique Opportunity To Deal With Crisis And Conflict In Election Year

On March 16, it was reported that the New Mexico legislature is in discussions with Governor Michell Lujan Grisham to convene a “special session” to deal with a $50 million dollar capital spending outlay and rising gas prices. On March 14, it was reported that a mentally ill man went on a shooting rampage and was killed by police only after killing one and injuring 5, including 3 police officers.

This blog article is discusses how both matters can and should be addressed in a Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature.


On Monday, March 14, a woman was killed, a man and a woman were injured and 3 police officers were also injured in what the Albuquerque Police Department called an “active shooter situation” in an affluent Glenwood foothill gated community at Montgomery east of Tramway NE. The incident sparked a massive law enforcement response and ended with 3 officers sustaining minor gunshot wounds. Multiple officers shot the armed suspect and killed him.

Around 2:17 p.m. officers were called to Montgomery east of Tramway NE, near a police substation, because a woman in a vehicle had been shot. As officers were rendering aid to her they heard gunshots to the east and several officers “made their way up the street” to where they found a man had been shot in the leg. Officers searching the neighborhood found a woman dead inside a vehicle and APD believe all 3 citizens were shot by the same person.

Officers found a man they believed to be the suspect and he had entered a house and then come back out and an altercation occurred that led to two officers getting superficial gunshot wounds. One was grazed above the eye and the other was struck with pellets below the vest. Two handguns were found with the suspect.

APD has identified 52-year-old John Dawson Hunter as the man they say shot and killed one woman and injured five other people, including 3 officers. The woman killed was identified as Alicia Hall, 31. Neighbors said she lived in the area. Hall was driving in her car on Montgomery east of Tramway when she was shot. Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, said Hunter also shot a man and a teenage girl before officers responded to the scene, found him, and shot and killed him during a confrontation.

APD Detectives say the 3 APD officers suffered minor injuries during the gunfire that resulted in Hunter’s death. APD the injuries may have resulted from gunshots that hit a cinderblock wall that broke up and sent debris in their direction. APD Detectives believe Hunter was “suffering some sort of mental crisis when he started shooting randomly at people in the area of his home.” Hunter lived in the 13000 block of Montgomery Blvd. NE.

Mayor Tim Keller had this to say about the shootings:

“[This is an] example of a tragedy suffered from gun violence in our community. “… this is yet another example of what happens when there is a gun in the wrong hands, and it leads to violence. … This is yet another clarion call in our city. We have to have every level of government focused on reducing gun violence.”


On March 9, Governor Michell Lujan Grisham announced that she had vetoed Senate Bill 48, also known as the “Junior Bill” enacted by the 2022 New Mexico 30-day legislative session that ended on February 17. The bill would have authorized $25.2 million in one-time spending and another $25.2 million in ongoing spending. The bill was crafted by the individual legislators and was in addition to the $8.5 billion budget and then$827.7 capital outlay bills. Senate Bill 48, gave each lawmaker a certain amount of money to allocate as they chose. Members of the House got $360,000 each and senators had $600,000. It passed by unanimous votes .

The money would have gone to a wide-ranging set of programs and priorities picked by lawmakers. Among the proposed items were law enforcement equipment, efforts to help homeless animals, student speech and debate clubs, medical equipment, meals on wheels for homebound residents and public safety programs and funding for food bank services in the East Mountains. Lawmakers have not taken up a supplemental spending bill in over 10 years before 2019, when an oil and gas boom resulted in surpluses. Legislators are contemplating the calling an “extraordinary legislative’’ session to override the Governor’s veto of the $50 Million Junior Bill.

The Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 48 resulted in a very public clash between lawmakers and the Governor. There was a growing number of New Mexico legislators who expressed support for calling themselves into “extraordinary session” to allow them to override Governor Lujan Grisham’s veto of a $50 million spending bill. Convening such a session requires support from three-fifths of each chamber of the Legislature. An “extraordinary session” would represent a political rebuke of Lujan Grisham by a legislature her party has solid majorities in in an election year where she is seeking a second term.

On Tuesday, March 15, Democratic lawmakers met behind closed doors for a Caucus meeting to debate to call “special or extraordinary session” and to provide financial relief to drivers squeezed by high gasoline prices and options for restoring $50 million in spending vetoed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. A Party Caucus is a confidential forum that allows a group of legislators, Democrats or Republicans to discuss strategy or other topics among themselves.

During the March 15 Democratic Caucus meeting, legislators discussed the possibility of an April 5 special session called by the governor that would focus on tax rebates and a revised version of the $50 Million spending bill which she vetoed. No final decision was made during caucus meetings. An extraordinary session would be open to any topic. A special session would be limited to subjects authorized by the governor.

After the caucus meeting, Albuquerque area Democrat Senate President Pro Term Mimi Stewart expressed optimism about reaching an agreement with Lujan Grisham on plans for a special session. She said lawmakers are still evaluating how to address the governor’s objections to the spending bill. If no agreement is reached on a special session, still have the option of calling themselves into “extraordinary” session without the governor’s approval which is provided in the New Mexico constitutions.

Among the fuel options under consideration is “suspending” the state’s 17 cents a gallon tax on gas for now or issuing tax rebates to New Mexicans to reflect the higher cost of living. Other lawmakers say lifting the gas tax might affect the state’s debt obligations, among other potential consequences, leading to increased talk of rebates as an alternative. Lawmakers of both parties have said they support taking action of some kind to help New Mexicans hit by higher fuel costs.

The link to quoted news source is here:


Soon after the 2022 thirty-day New Mexico legislative session, it became abundantly clear that both the Governor as well as the New Mexico legislature were not at all happy with the final outcome because of the legislation enacted and vetoed. The Governor was given a watered-down crime bill when the legislature gutted “pre-trial” detention and “rebuttable presumption” to hold those accused of violent crime for trial. The legislature became extremely hostile when the Governor vetoed a carefully crafted $50 million spending bill. Complicating matters is that it is an election year where the Governor is seeking a second term, all 70 New Mexico House members are on the ballot, and the general voting public continues to be angry over rising violent crime rates


Legislators are discussing the possibility of an April 5 special session called by the governor that would last only two days that would focus on tax rebates and a revised version of the spending package. A special session is strictly limited to subjects authorized by the governor.

An April 5 special session is rushing it and longer than a two-day session is needed. The special session should be called for the first week in May to give sufficient time to work out specific legislation and the session should last at least a week.

Governor Mitchell Lujan Grisham should call a Special Legislative Session and place only 3 items on the agenda:

1. Enactment of a modified $50 Million junior bill that the legislators want
2. Enactment of specific tax rebates or suspension of gas tax
3. Enactment of an “Omnibus Gun Violence And Gun Control Act” to deal with the ever-increasing violent crime crisis in the state.

Following is a discussion of all 3 agenda items that should be considered:


The Governor should make it clear and in no uncertain terms that she will place on the special session agenda a new $50 million spending bill that the legislators have crafted and want. Part the initial spending package was the fact that the bill contained many projects with enough funding to start the projects but not to complete them. Among the proposed items were law enforcement equipment, efforts to help homeless animals, medical equipment, meals on wheels for homebound residents and public safety programs and funding for food bank services, all projects that the Governor should easily support.

If necessary, additional funding should be added to the funding bill that will ensure completion of the projects. Lawmakers have not taken up a supplemental spending bill in over 10 years before 2019, when an oil and gas boom resulted in surpluses. Oil prices have surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sharply expanding revenue in New Mexico making the State the Number 2 oil producer in the United States and there should be more than enough additional revenue to add to the $50 million appropriations to complete the projects.


Lawmakers of both parties have said they support taking action to help New Mexicans hit by higher fuel costs.

House Republican Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia, had this to say:

“The state is certainly rolling in revenue.”

Gallup Democrat Senator George Muñoz succinctly put it this way:

“People need help.”

The Governor should make it clear and in no uncertain terms that she will support and place on a special session agenda tax rebates or some sort of “gas price relief”. There is a downside the gas tax suspension in that eliminating it will not reduce the price of gasoline as much. The gas tax as it stands builds roads and pay of debt and therefore other “gas price relief” should be sough if possible. This should be a no brainer giving the alarming increases in gas prices and the need for economic relief and the fact the state is continuing to see huge increases in revenues from oil and gas production.

The link to quoted news source is here:


“Omnibus Gun Violence And Gun Control Act” should be enacted in a special session and must include sweeping legislation to deal with gun control, gun violence and violent crime in the state.


The following increases in enhancements should be enacted:

1.Increase the firearm enhancement penalties provided for brandishing a firearm in the commission of a noncapital felony from 3 years to 10 years for a first offense and for a second or subsequent noncapital felony in which a firearm is brandished 12 years.

2.Create a new category of enhanced sentencing for use of a lethal weapon or deadly weapon other than a firearm where there is blandishment of a deadly weapon, defined as an item or object used to inflict mortal or great bodily harm, in the commission of a noncapital felony with enhanced sentences of 5 years for a first offense and for second or subsequent noncapital felony in which a lethal weapon other than a firearm is brandished 8 years.

3.Enact legislation making it a 4th degree felony punishable up to 18 months in jail for failure to secure a firearm. Gun owners would have to keep their firearms in a locked container or otherwise make them inaccessible to anyone but the owner or other authorized users.


The New Mexico legislature could enact the following gun control measures:

4. Call for a constitutional amendment to repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a public vote and no doubt generate heated discussion given New Mexico’s high percentage of gun ownership for hunting, sport or hobby.

5. Prohibit in New Mexico the sale of “ghost guns” parts. Ghost guns are guns that are manufactured and sold in parts without any serial numbers to be assembled by the purchaser and that can be sold to anyone.

6. Require in New Mexico the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold as is required for all operable vehicles bought and driven in New Mexico.

7. Review additional bail bond reforms and statutorily empower judges with more authority and more discretion to hold and jail those pending trial who have prior violent crime convictions.

8. Institute mandatory extended waiting periods to a month for all sales and gun purchases.

9. Implement in New Mexico mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.

10. Ban the sale in New Mexico of “bump-fire stocks” and other accessories.

11. Provide more resources and treatment for people with mental illness.

12. Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases.


Given the severe increase of murders of children at the hands of children, the “Omnibus Gun Violence And Gun Control Act” needs to include provisions directed at keeping firearms out of the hands of children and holding adults owner of guns responsible for their guns. Provisions that should be considered are as follows:

13. Currently, you must be at least 19 years old to legally possess a handgun in New Mexico and there is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns. Expand the age limitation of 19 to rifles and shotguns,

14. Currently, the unlawful possession of a handgun by someone under age 19 is a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of from 6 months to one year in jail. It should be classified as an aggravated fourth-degree felony mandating a 2-year minimum sentence.

15. Expand the prohibition of deadly weapons from a school campus to school zones.

16. The case of any juvenile arrested possession of a weapon and charged by law enforcement are to be referred the District Attorney for automatic prosecution.

17. Make it a felony, in certain circumstances, if a person recklessly stores a firearm and a minor gains access to it to threaten or harm someone. If a firearm is accessed by a minor and used in the commission of a crime resulting in great bodily harm or death, the person responsible for storing the firearm could be charged with an aggravated fourth-degree felony, carrying a 24 month prison sentence.
If a firearm were accessed by a minor and used in the commission of a lesser crime, the person responsible for keeping or storing the firearm could have been charged with a 4th degree felony punishable by up to a 18 months in jail.

18. Mandate public school systems and higher education institutions to “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, security measures, including metal detectors at single entrances designated and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers. Legislative funding needs to be provided to accomplish the requirement.


The March 13 shoot out and killing of John Dawson Hunter emphases the need that funding must be considered a critical part of any “Omnibus Control Gun Control And Violence Act”. To that end, the legislature needs to fund and strengthen the states decimated behavioral health system, incentivize new provider services and build peer support programs and increasing addiction treatment services. This would include funding to expand court ordered treatment programs and increase funding and capacity for specialty courts.

Until aggressive action is taken to not only change the criminal sentencing laws but to enforce and prosecute violations of the laws, the city and the state will see very little reduction in the states violent crime rates and an increase number of body bags and funerals.


Many elected officials, law enforcement and the public quickly expressed disappointment that not enough was done by the New Mexico legislature when it came to enacting legislation that could actually bring down violent crime. The Governor’s ill-advised veto of Senate Bill 48 made things even worse by antagonizing the entire legislature both Democrats and Republicans alike.

There now exists a very unique opportunity to deal with all 3 major issues all at one time and do so with compromise.

Results Of March 5 Democratic Party Nominating Convention

The final results of the March 5 Democratic Party Nominating Convention are in with the results announced by the Democratic Party. More than 1,140 delegates attended the convention held in Roswell, New Mexico, either in person or by ZOOM. A voting period was allowed from March 5 to March 9. On Sunday, March 13 results were announced by video call to convention delegates.

In order to be place on the June 7 ballot, each candidate in the contested races were required to get 20% of the convention delegate vote. Any candidate who finished below the 20% threshold can collect more petition signatures to make the ballot.


Those candidates who ran unopposed and received 100% of the delegate votes cast are:
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver
New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard
Unites States Representative Melanie Stansbury (NM CD -1)
United State Representative Teresa Ledger Fernandez (NM CD-3)


The winner in each contested race has their name listed first on the June 7 ballot and gets the bragging rights and the benefit of the ballot position. Following are the result of the contested races and percentages of delegate votes each received:


State Auditor Brian Colón: 61%
Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torres: 39%

Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas is term limited, he has served two terms and cannot run for reelection this year. The winner of the Attorney General nomination will face Republican Jeremy Gay, a Gallup lawyer and former judge advocate in the Marine Corps in the November 8, general election


Zack Quintero, a former state ombudsman: 62%
Public Regulation Commissioner Joseph Maestas: 38.19%

There’s no Republican candidate for State Auditor, so whoever wins the Democratic Primary on June 7 wins the November 8 general election by default.


Former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya: 58%
Former municipal and magistrate judge Heather Benavidez: 41.71%

The winner of the June 7 primary will face Republican Harry Montoya in the general election.


Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez: 80.4%
Darshan Patel: 19.6%

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Yvette Herrell.

A Democratic Party spokeswoman said it will be up to state election officials to determine whether Patel’s vote total would be rounded up to 20% or whether he must submit more signatures. Patel’s campaign for its part contends the number must be rounded up and that he has qualified for the ballot.


Now the 2022 elections begin in earnest. Best of luck to all who are committed to public service and will to make the private sacrifice to represent the State of New Mexico.