Election workers in Rio Arriba County have done it again. According to stories in the Rio Grande Sun, www.riograndesun.com, ballot boxes have been illegally opened since the election.
According to the stories, Rio Arriba County Clerk, Moises Morales, opened ballot boxes in his office without the required supervision of the county canvassing board or a district judge. Recently reelected district judge Sheri Raphaelson signed an order allowing the ballot boxes to be opened, but did not stipulate when or where, nor did she ensure that she or a representative be present. It is not clear how the boxes were opened since the district court was supposed to have one of the two keys necessary to open the boxes.
The ballot boxes were apparently opened in search of missing absentee ballots, which should not have been there in the first place. Add this to the fact that Rio Arriba did not report election results until very late (after 2:00 AM), due to ballot boxes not being delivered promptly by precinct judges. This is the same county that saw an election judge take home and keep overnight three ballot boxes during the Democratic Presidential Caucus in 2008.
We have done great work to go to an all paper ballot system in New Mexico, including meaningful audits of elections. But apparently, we still have a long way to go to ensure that the ballots are secure on election day and through the canvassing and auditing period.
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