Monday, August 17, 2020

Trump Rails Against Mail-In Vote As NM GOP Launches Mail-In Drive, Plus: Can't Let Go; More R Infighting With Oil And Gas Group, And: MLG Suffers Political Setback 

President Trump continues to rail against voting by mail but the NM GOP is putting a selective spin on the bashing to justify its own mailer to Bernalillo County voters that includes an absentee ballot application. The party quotes Trump as saying on July 30 that "I will be an absentee voter. We have a lot of absentee voters. It works. So we are in favor of absentee."

But according to Factcheck.org this is a distinction without a difference:

President Trump continues to draw false distinctions between mail-in and absentee ballots, claiming the former are rife with voter fraud while the latter — which he has used as president — require a voter to go through “a very strict process. The equivalent of going to a voting machine, or maybe even sometimes better.” Voting experts told us the verification process is the same for absentee and mail-in ballots, and many states consider them to be the same thing.

New Mexico is not having a universal mail-in election but appears headed for the largest absentee mail vote in its history. If the state GOP doesn't campaign with that in mind they will suffer. And that's how you get a picture of Trump along with an absentee ballot application in your mailbox.

Then there's the Postal Service imbroglio. It has sent a letter to 46 states--not including New Mexico--with this warning:

. .  U.S. Postal Service recently sent detailed letters to 46 states and D.C. warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted — adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest. The letters sketch a grim possibility for the tens of millions of Americans eligible for a mail-in ballot this fall: Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.

So why is New Mexico, accustomed to being last in the nation in many measurements, doing alright with its mail ballots? We asked Alex Curtas at the office of Sec. of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

I couldn't speak to the criteria USPS used to make these determinations. . . I can confirm that we did not receive a letter from the USPS like other states did warning them about their mailed-ballot policies. We work closely with the USPS every election. . . We're confident in their ability to deliver ballots on time and they are clearly confident in the policies we have in place surrounding mail-in voting. 

Making sure mailed ballots arrive to County Clerks before 7pm on Election Day is top of mind for election administrators We want voters to know that if they plan to mail their absentee ballot back they should do it no later than one week before Election Day (all mailed ballots will inform voters of this suggested deadline).

(Voters) can cast their absentee ballot through the mail, but they can also hand deliver their absentee ballot to their county clerk or to a polling location if they want to or if they feel their ballot won't make it to their county clerk through the mail in time to be counted.

Voters should know that casting their ballot through the mail is safe and secure. . . They should ignore the false and baseless claims trying to demonize mail-in voting. County Clerks can begin sending absentee ballots to those who have requested one on October 6th. October 20th is the last day voters can apply for an absentee ballot. More info on absentee and early voting here.

BernCo Clerk Linda Stover adds that she will have drop boxes for ballots at all 16 early voting sites and 71 Election Day sites. The drop boxes "will be secure, locked and under the watchful eye of a poll worker at all times.”

Mail voting in New Mexico has proven to be reliable and secure so don't be shy. Vote early--just don't vote often.


Flynn and Martinez
Let's go back to the NM GOP where we find them unable to let go of their feud with the NM Oil and Gas Association and its executive director Ryan Flynn. After top GOP leaders called for Flynn to resign because he praised the energy policies of Dem US Rep. Xochitl Torres Small--who is locked in a heated battle with GOP hopeful Yvette Herrell in the southern congressional district--party chair Steve Pearce is now praising a letter from some state oil executives who agree that Flynn should go:

“The Republican Party of New Mexico stands with the leaders of our locally owned firms in the oil and gas industry who have lost confidence in Ryan Flynn for supporting progressive Democrats like Rep. Xochitl Torres Small who seek to ban fracking and for giving thousands of dollars to industry opponents like Gov. Lujan Grisham and House Speaker Brian Egolf. I commend them in calling for his resignation and I hope the NMOGA Board of Directors takes their concerns seriously.”

Simple explanation: Flynn was a cabinet secretary under Governor Martinez. Her faction of the party can't stand the faction led by Pearce and former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates. The feeling is mutual.

This internecine warfare is wounding Herrell who is already looking shaky. The R's gave Flynn a slap for his pro-Dem remarks and now could be expected to put their focus on Torres Small but they can't let go of Flynn (and Martinez). The NMOGA board is standing behind Flynn. No wonder this race is leaning more Dem.


MLG suffered a political setback this weekend when Dem Party Central Committee members from Dona Ana County rejected her choice of District Court Judge Casey Fitch to be the party nominee for a new judgeship in the county. She appointed Fitch in July but the committee nominated former Magistrate Judge Richard Jacquez for the November election despite intense lobbying by MLG, according to one of our insiders tracking this one:

MLG appointed Fitch over Jacquez in June despite Jacquez being active in the party for two decades. She pulled out all the stops, making calls to the 38 Central Committee members from Dona Ana County, She was able to pull a few but the vast majority held firm with their commitment to Jacquez, including prominent Las Cruces Democratic Senator Joe Cervantes. 

The R's have a few weeks to put up a candidate but may not since this one looks all D all the time.


Rep. Lujan
After being named by the Santa Fe County Commission to fill the state House vacancy of Linda Trujillo, Dem Tara Lujan was questioned over whether she was really a resident of the district. Lujan, a former staffer for Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, overcame those objections and over the weekend was officially named the Dem nominee for the November election. We get the scoop from a Senior Gator:

Tara's district is all in Santa Fe County so the House District 48 nominee was chosen by the County Central Committee members who live in the district. Four people announced interest in the nomination, including Tara. The deadline to declare a candidacy to the county party was August 6. Tara was the only applicant. Everyone else dropped out.

No R is running in the heavy Dem seat.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here. 

website design by limwebdesign