- By Daniel J. Chacón [email protected]
- Jun 16, 2022 Updated 14 hrs ago
Even as Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin prepared to be sentenced for trespassing during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, the outspoken Cowboys for Trump leader said he won’t vote to certify his county’s primary election results despite the threat of legal action by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.
“I’m not intimidated by it,” Griffin said in a Thursday telephone interview from Washington, D.C.
“He’s not going to strong-arm me through threats like this,” he added, speaking of Balderas.
“If they feel like they could force us to certify, then why even have a commission board? Why doesn’t the state just do everything? But the fact of it is — and what Hector knows — to make this election legal, you have to have the certification of the county commissioners,” Griffin said.
“So I’m not going to certify the vote until we have our demands met.”
Griffin’s defiance comes as
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver made good Thursday on her promise to ask Balderas to investigate the Otero County Commission for possible criminal and civil violations of New Mexico’s Election Code.
Although expected, Toulouse Oliver’s request to investigate the three-member commission is the latest salvo in a high-profile dispute over the certification of primary election results, which the commissioners refused to do. The commissioners, all Republicans in a pro-Trump county, cited their distrust in Dominion Voting Systems’ machines when they took a vote Monday against certifying the results.
Their refusal prompted Toulouse Oliver to file a petition with the New Mexico Supreme Court, which gave the commission a Friday deadline to certify.
“The commission must comply with the law or we will take legal action,” Balderas said in a statement Thursday.
Griffin said Toulouse Oliver is trying to force the commission to “rubber stamp” an election they don’t have confidence in.
“That’s a disgrace, and it’s not right,” he said.
The commission, which has garnered national media attention for its refusal to certify the primary results, is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting at 4 p.m. Friday.
Only one item is on the agenda: “Request approval to certify the canvass of the 2022 primary election.”
Efforts to reach the other commissioners, Chairwoman Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly, were unsuccessful.
They didn’t answer their cellphones, and both of their voicemail boxes were full.
Griffin answered a call during a meeting with his legal counsel.