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We haven’t heard the last about election conspiracy theories


Otero County Commissioner Gerald Matherly smells something fishy with the results of the recent primary election.

Matherly didn’t come right out and accuse the winners of cheating, but said he knew of at least one case where “ghost” ballots were returned from an address where the homeowner had died.

He also shares the concerns of fellow commissioners Couy Griffin, who was sentenced last week on a federal trespassing conviction for his involvement in the failed insurrection on Jan. 6, and Vickie Marquardt that the Dominion voting machines used by the county to tabulate the votes can’t be trusted. And so, Matherly was part of a unanimous vote by the commission to refuse to certify this clearly tainted election.

Which seems odd, given that Matherly was one of the winners whose victory is being questioned. He defeated Republican challenger Jeremiah Joseph Walters by a healthy margin -- 899 to 470. Does he think that somewhere in Venezuela, employees of Dominion are secretly carrying out a plot devised years ago by Hugo Chavez to cheat Mr. Walters?

Otero County Clerk Robyn Holmes tried repeatedly to convince commissioners that the voting machines do not have the connections needed to hook up to the Internet, but they weren’t buying it.

The meeting began with Matherly scolding Holmes for providing accurate information to the local newspaper as to how the certification process works. After several minutes of patient explanation, Matherly still could not grasp the concept that, yes, they really do need to certify the primary election vote for there to be a general election in November.

Late in the meeting, someone asked commissioners the obvious question: You approved the results of the 2021 election conducted on the same voting machines; what’s changed?

We all know the answer to that question.  

In a desperate and dangerous attempt to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, Donald Trump and his supporters invented a myriad of conspiracy theories. One of those dubbed the craziest by former lapdog Attorney General William Barr was the notion that Dominion voting machines were hacked into and votes were switched from Trump to Biden. Apparently, Democrats doing the hacking didn’t care enough about the House and Senate to switch those votes.

The tantrum ended predictably Friday when the commission voted 2-1 to certify the results after being ordered to by the state Supreme Court. Griffin, who is more accustomed to jail than his two colleagues, cast the “no” vote.

I don’t think this is over. We should expect similar attempts to ignore state voting laws in the general election this fall. 

Walter Rubel is a freelance journalist based in Las Cruces. His 40-plus-year career includes work in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and— since 2002 — in New Mexico, covering Las Cruces and the state Legislature. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Las Cruces Bulletin. Rubel can be reached at waltrubel@gmail.com.