BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) — A judge has ordered Sandoval County election officials to stop counting ballots just one day before they were supposed to release the results of this yearâ€™s presidential election.
The District Court judge handed down the order Thursday afternoon after a petition was filed on behalf of two Republican candidates set to lose their races by narrow margins and by a former state representative.
Pat Rogers, the attorney who filed the petition, said there have been too many troubling issues starting with the
long lines and five-hour waits to vote in Rio Rancho on Election Day.
â€śIt isnâ€™t just the long lines and that fiasco, it is our concern about repeated discovery of additional ballots,â€ť Rogers said.
Rogers filed the petition on behalf of state Senate candidate David Doyle, county clerk candidate Paula Papponi and former state Rep. Dan Foley who signed on as a Sandoval County voter.
Rogers said red flags have been popping up since the ballot counting began.
Sandoval County election officials confirm court orders have been issued to open several ballot boxes because the number of voters who signed in did not match the number of ballots dropped.
The county said its still waiting on two more court orders to open two more ballot boxes before counting can be complete.
However, the decision Thursday means ballot counting must stop.
The judge ordered all Sandoval County ballots from Election Day, early voting and absentee to be collected by New Mexico State Police. News 13 has been told this could lead to a complete recount.
The Republicans who filed the petition said the goal is simple.
â€śTo make sure that the voters of Sandoval County have confidence and have an open and honest count,â€ť Rogers said.
The judge's decision is not official until after the petitioners have paid $2,175 in fees to complete the impound process.
It's unclear when State Police would be impounding the ballots.
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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.