Judge settles ballot-box tug-of-war

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) — Another day brought another twist in the ongoing battle over ballots in Sandoval County where thousands of people had to wait in line up to five hours on Election Day.

On Thursday a judge ordered those ballots impounded , but on Friday lawyers for the county tried to stop that.

Meanwhile New Mexico State police are keeping a close eye on those ballot boxes at the Sandoval county administration building where the official vote canvass is to begin at 6 p.m.

State Police showed up early Friday after three people--two Republican candidates who lost close races and a Rio Rancho ex-legislator--filed a petition to impound the ballots.

They say they wanted to make sure there was no wrongdoing during the voting and counting process.

A District Court judge agreed and ordered the impounding.

But at noon Friday lawyers for the county tried to stop that saying that would get in the way of the canvassing process, that is completing the tally and turning in the results, which by law had to be completed on Friday.

Both sides then met with the judge who came up with a compromise.

The ballots would be impounded with a police officer and two people from each party keeping an eye on them until they are canvassed.

"This isn't a partisan issue," said Dan Foley, a former Republican state representative.  "This is a transparency and fairness issue making sure every ballot is counted and counted correctly."

After the canvass the ballots will be locked up awaiting further order from the court to see what happens next.

It cost more than $2,100 to complete the impound process.

The petitioners say the Republican Party is footing the bill.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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
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Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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