Vote tabulators aren’t connected to the internet, and anyone working at the polls or with ballots must follow strict election-integrity rules, Sandoval County Clerk’s Office staff explained to local Republicans and a Libertarian recently.
In response to concerns expressed during public forums at county commission meetings, County Clerk Anne Brady-Romero, who took office in 2021, and her staff gave a detailed presentation about the voting process and security. The Republican Party of Sandoval County sent around a dozen members, who were joined by one person from the Libertarian Party of Sandoval County.
The Democratic Party of Sandoval County could have attended a separate presentation, but declined.
“We share a common ground when it comes to the elections,” Bureau of Elections Manager Tina Dominguez said. “We support the transparency of the process.”
Deputy County Clerk Joey Dominguez, no relation, said if voters believe there’s a problem with elections, they should submit a formal complaint to the New Mexico Secretary of State (SOS), which sends it to the state Attorney General’s Office. The county doesn’t handle complaints, but must make changes if ordered to do so by the state.
“We’re not a law enforcement agency,” he said.
Clerk’s office must handle voter database in line with specific rules
During an election, Tina Dominguez said, voter rolls for the area close to changes from the first day of early voting until 35 days after the election. The only exception is same-day registration at polling places in some elections.
On April 6, she said 1,800 new registrations needed to be processed. The clerk’s office was able to start that day, except for new voters in Rio Rancho’s City Council District 3, because of the municipal runoff election there.
Only the county clerk can process voter registration, even though the New Mexico Secretary of State maintains the rolls. The registration system automatically generates voter ID numbers.
Joey Dominguez said the Secretary of State’s information technology team backs up the electronic voter database. The SOS also hires external auditors to check the database for accuracy.
Tina Dominguez said the county Bureau of Elections can’t remove a voter’s registration unless ordered by the SOS. Questioned about accusations of an alleged 120-year-old resident voting in a recent election, she theorized the birthdate might have been entered incorrectly into the database.
“We don’t go and look to see how old you are when you vote,” she said.
Joey Dominguez said the clerk’s office staff doesn’t have time to check each voter registration, but if they happen across evidence of a problem, they will report it.
County can’t require voter ID
Tina Dominguez said state statute allows only home-rule municipalities to require identification in order to cast a ballot. Counties are forbidden from asking voters for ID because they administer statewide elections, she said.
County elections are considered state elections because the state constitution lays out the official structure of counties, Joey Dominguez said.
Voting machines, ballot boxes are locked up tight
Tina Dominguez said the warehouse that houses vote tabulators and other election equipment has security cameras that watch every corner, an alarm system and locks.
At the end of voting, she said, county deputies help transport the ballot boxes back to the warehouse in Bernalillo. State statute requires the presiding judge at each polling place to remain with the boxes.
According to law, every time the ballot boxes change hands, the name of the person who takes charge must be recorded.
Vendor: Ballot-on-demand system certified, kept separate from vote counts & registration database: Click here.
County clerk’s office: Absentee ballots are closely monitored: Click here
County: NM SOS purchased voting machines, which don’t have internet connection: Click here