New Mexico launched an investigation into a so-called election “audit” in a county that voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump, The Daily Beast reports.
Otero County, which Trump carried with more than 60% of the vote, are pushing for an “audit” of the election results.
The county last month approved a $49,750 audit contract with EchoMail, a company founded by election conspiracist Shiva Ayyudurai. The company said it would use the money to contract the “New Mexico Audit Force” to conduct a “door-to-door canvas” of the county’s voters.
The county’s attorney raised legal concerns about potential civil rights lawsuits stemming from the audit at a Jan. 13 meeting but County Commissioner Couy Griffin dismissed the concerns.
“Should I honor my oath and be loyal to the people or should I cow to the state and say ‘oh no, I might get sued or I might get in trouble?’” Griffin asked during the meeting. “What would you do?”
Griffin currently faces charges for illegally entering the Capitol on January 6, which he denies.
New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colon has launched a special review of the Otero audit.
Colon said he will look at whether the contract with EchoMail is lawful and a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.
“Is there supporting justification for expenditures?” Colón told The Daily Beast. “That's where we get into the contemplation of whether or not this is wasteful spending, or if it is in the best interest of the citizens of Otero County.”
Colon in 2020 issued a risk advisory to the county after Griffin expensed a $3,237 trip to a Trump event in D.C.
“We always have to consider red flags,” Colón said. “Prior misconduct is going to be a red flag on any given set of future circumstances. And in this case, we know that the individual who most aggressively advanced the interest of having the county enter this contract was somebody that we have had to hold accountable in the past.”
EchoMail was previously involved in the ill-fated Maricopa County, Arizona audit. County officials released a report debunking virtually every conclusion from the audit.
Despite their record, the Otero contract would give the company permission to “perform door-to- door canvass of Otero County voter registration database to determine accuracy of voter registration database.”
The audit would be conducted by the New Mexico Audit Force, which is not a company or group but rather a Telegram group filled with election conspiracies.
“Some people are not going to like someone coming up to their door and asking them about where they're registered to vote, how they're registered to vote,” warned county attorney R.B. Nichols. “Some people could see that as intimidation."