Editorial: Think election fraud is possible? It’s time to put up or shut up

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The county clerks who carry out elections in New Mexico — a mix of Republicans and Democrats — say the system is robust, accurate and secure from fraud.

Somehow that’s not good enough for some elected officials. Odd, don’t you think, for any politician to question a voting system that put them in office? But they do, routinely, and without evidence. They point to a lack of public confidence in the system yet don’t do the simple things to satisfy themselves — or the public they’re supposed to serve — to confirm or deny the accuracy of that system.

It’s one thing for a low-information voter to question New Mexico’s voting system. It’s quite another for a politician whose livelihood depends on accurate results to inject doubt into a system that time and again has proven reliable.

Sunday’s front page Journal included a story that summarized the procedures in place for N.M.’s county clerks to test the accuracy of vote-tabulation machines before elections and then verify results. After Election Day every other year, an accounting firm oversees hand tallies to verify the machines produced accurate results.

“It matches — it always does,” said Lea County Clerk Keith Manes, a Republican. “I have confidence in the whole system the way it’s done. … There’s so many checks and balances along the way.”

By law, counties invite political party chairpersons to watch as they certify the accuracy of voting machines before an election. Members of the public can attend, too.

As the Journal reported, a stack of test ballots is fed through each machine. After the voting machines show they accurately tabulate the ballots, the tabulators are sealed and sent to polling locations. Despite this opportunity to get a firsthand look at the steps taken to safeguard elections in New Mexico, hardly anyone shows up.

Naysayers who cast doubt on the state’s voting system or suggest it’s vulnerable to outside manipulation should avail themselves of this demonstration. If they don’t, it’s hard to give their doubts any credibility. After all, they didn’t care enough to educate themselves on how the safeguards work.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.


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