Filed Under: U.S. Elections

Small commissions, big impact: How officials can prevent election certification

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County officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania have refused to certify their primary election results in recent months. The commission for Otero County, New Mexico, did so in June. Its Republican members cited concerns regarding voting machines and “ghost ballots.” By not certifying the results, the commission paused the election process. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver forced the certification with a state Supreme Court order.

In Pennsylvania, Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties did not process election results from May, 2022. By questioning ballots, these counties prevented the state from certifying results.

Local officials manage more than 10,000 election administration jurisdictions in the U.S. They process ballots, then pass them on to state officials.

SHANNON LONGWORTH: IT’S JUNE, 2022.

VOTES ARE IN FOR THE OTERO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO, PRIMARY.

BUT THREE PEOPLE STAND IN THE WAY OF RESULTS BECOMING OFFICIAL.

CONVINCED THE VOTING MACHINES WERE INSECURE AND SO-CALLED GHOST BALLOTS WERE COUNTED, THE COUNTY COMMISSION MAKES NATIONAL HEADLINES.

VICKIE MARQUARDT: “MY WHOLE CONCERN IS WITH THE DOMINION VOTING MACHINE.”

LONGWORTH: EVENTUALLY, THE SECRETARY OF STATE FORCES THEIR HAND.

BUT HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN? HOW DO ELECTION RESULTS REMAIN UNOFFICIAL, EVEN AFTER POLLS CLOSE AND VOTES ARE COUNTED?

LET ME EXPLAIN.

THERE ARE MORE THAN 10,000 ELECTION ADMINISTRATION JURISDICTIONS IN THE U.S.

LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE IN CHARGE OF THOSE JURISDICTIONS.

THEY PROCESS BALLOTS BEFORE PASSING THE RESULTS ON TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

IN THE CASE OF OTERO COUNTY, ITS COMMISSION STOPPED THE ELECTION PROCESS AT THE FIRST CHECKPOINT AFTER VOTES CAME IN.

AND IT’S SOMETHING WE’RE SEEING MORE FREQUENTLY.

THREE COUNTIES IN PENNSYLVANIA ALL REFUSED TO PROCESS UNDATED ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN THE PRIMARY PREVENTING THE STATE FROM CERTIFYING RESULTS.

SMALL COMMISSIONS, BIG CONSEQUENCES.

IN BOTH OF THESE EXAMPLES, THE REPUBLICAN-LEANING COUNTIES ARE QUESTIONING THE RESULTS, PAUSING THE PROCESS.

COUY GRIFFIN: “WE’RE REQUIRED TO HONOR OUR OATH AND FOLLOW OUR CONVICTIONS AS FAR AS THE CERTIFICATION GOES.”

LONGWORTH: IS THIS RESPONSIBLE ELECTION ADMINISTRATION? OR MEDDLING OUT OF BASELESS CONCERN?

EITHER WAY, THE RISK REMAINS THE SAME: IT INJECTS SKEPTICISM INTO OUR ELECTIONS.

WHETHER THAT’S HEALTHY–YOU DECIDE AND LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.

County officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania have refused to certify their primary election results in recent months. The commission for Otero County, New Mexico, did so in June. Its Republican members cited concerns regarding voting machines and “ghost ballots.” By not certifying the results, the commission paused the election process. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver forced the certification with a state Supreme Court order.

In Pennsylvania, Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties did not process election results from May, 2022. By questioning ballots, these counties prevented the state from certifying results.

Local officials manage more than 10,000 election administration jurisdictions in the U.S. They process ballots, then pass them on to state officials.

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