State officials probe Sandoval Co. Election Day woes

Posted at: 11/15/2012 5:40 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 10:28 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The New Mexico Secretary of State is closely monitoring the developments of what many are calling a botched election process in Sandoval County.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran told Chris Ramirez and Gadi Schwartz on a taping of Eye On New Mexico that the entire problem lies in the hands of the Sandoval County Clerk and Commission.

On election night, Rio Rancho voters waited in massive lines, some as long as five hours to cast ballot. There were only five places to vote for a city with 80,000 residents.

Many in Rio Rancho have called election night a total failure.

"It was up to the County Clerk, working with the commission, to determine how many voting convenience centers they would have and how many voting systems they would have at each of those voting centers,” Secretary Duran told Ramirez and Schwartz on Eye on New Mexico.

Duran argues that the Sandoval elected officials know their community better than her office, therefore it is the responsibility of the elected officials to tell the Secretary of State what resources they need to conduct a successful election process.

“That's what they were elected to do,” Secretary Duran said. “They were elected to do the job of determining for their counties what the best method was to use."

The night after the election Sandoval County Clerk Sally Padilla defended her job by stating, “I think I did my job. I've been doing it for so many years and I did my job as best I could. It might not be fair but nothing in life is fair."

Late Thursday afternoon, the Democratic Party of New Mexico released the following statement: "What happened in Sandoval County is a learning moment for everyone involved and our first priority is to come together and fix the problems so this doesn't happen again. But watching Dianna Duran do everything she can to dance around the blame and avoid the responsibility that ultimately lies with her is completely ridiculous. She is the head of election administration in New Mexico and it is her responsibility to make sure things run smoothly. When they do, Duran deserves the credit and is quick to claim it. But the flip side to that is that when they don't, she also has to acknowledge that she shares just as much blame as those at the county level. Dianna Duran pointing fingers at the County Clerks is not helpful and it's not leadership - a real leader would own and be accountable for what happened in Sandoval.”

Chris Ramirez and Gadi Schwartz co-host Eye on New Mexico and discuss voter fraud and the botched election in Rio Rancho Nov. 18 at 10:00 a.m. on KOB Eyewitness News 4.