Rio Rancho vote mess not deliberate, clerk says

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) — The Sandoval County Clerk says she didn’t do it on purpose.

Still, the long and frustrating wait for thousands of voters in Rio Rancho has some Republicans suspecting political shenanigans.

But County Clerk Sally Padilla, a Democrat, says the voting disaster was definitely not deliberate.

“This was not voter suppression, not on my part,” Padilla said told KRQE News 13 Thursday. "My job was just to run the election, and it didn’t matter to me what party came in.

“It wouldn’t have occurred to me in the world, and I wouldn’t be that kind of person."

Padilla blames the mess on a lack of ballot-printing machines for the five voting centers in Rio Rancho. She says her staff called and called the Secretary of State's Office asking for 25 machines.

They got 15.

When 30,000 people showed up on Election Day, some had to wait nearly five hours to vote.

Secretary of State Dianna Dur n says her office delivered what Sandoval County asked for: 15 machines. She sent News 13 a copy of an e-mail that shows the request.

Padilla says once her office finishes canvassing votes, they will look for written documentation as well to back up her claims of requesting more machines.

On Thursday challengers, watchers and candidates were also combing over provisional ballots. There are 539 provisional ballots cast by voters who had problems on Election Day, and the results could decide some of the neck-and-neck races still undecided in Sandoval County.

Volunteer attorneys were among the onlookers.

“We do this every election," attorney Paul Yarbrough from the Republican Party said. "We come down and we make sure the process has integrity and that the county officials follow the law. That’s why were here."

So far no one is calling for an investigation into the Rio Rancho voting issues.

The Attorney General’s Office is in a holding pattern as well. The Secretary of State says she will meet with Sandoval County officials when the canvassing is complete and then determine if an investigation is warranted.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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