Angry voters lash out at Sandoval Co. meeting

Posted at: 11/15/2012 10:35 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 10:41 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Things got heated at a regularly scheduled Sandoval County Commission meeting Thursday night.

Angry voters and poll workers lashed out against long-time County Clerk Sally Padilla.

After waiting up to five hours to vote on Election Day, dozens of residents had no problem waiting their turn to talk.

"We did not get an accurate indication of the will of the people," resident Robert Lopez said of the election. "And the only way to get accurate indication of the will of the people is to vacate the vote and have a new election."

Some 30 residents and poll challengers addressed commissioners and Padilla, who many accuse of suppressing conservative voters.

"Long lines forming, printers out of ink, voting machines jamming, slow response time from bureau of election and it got worse as the day progressed," Patricia Moreland, of the Republican Party of Sandoval County, said.

"You should be ashamed of yourself if you have any sense of honor you would resign immediately and take your staff with you," said resident Richard Grooters to Padilla.

"I want to say something about the county clerk who I have known for many years, and Sally Padilla has tremendous integrity and I respect her very much And I will tell you the responsibility for this lies with either the bureau of elections or the secretary of state," said Daymon Ely.

New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran responded to claims her department dropped the ball.

"It was up to the county clerk, again working with their commission to determine how many voting convienence centers they would have and how many voting systems they would have at each of those voting centers," Duran said. "In 32 other counties we didn't have that type of situation."

As the meeting ended Padilla, who is retiring at the end of the year, said she is sorry for the way things went last Tuesday.

"I am very sorry for what happened in Rio Rancho," said Padilla. "But it wasn't my control. There was no way I could do anymore than what we had already done."

The Sandoval County Canvassing Board will meet Friday evening. Members are expected to grill Padilla on her performance.

A commissioner told those at Thursday's meeting that two local candidates have formally challenged the election.

The commissioner also added he'd like to repeal convenient voting sites for future elections.

No action was taken at Thursday night's meeting.