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Gov. directs lawmakers to consider fake elector crimes

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Gov. directs lawmakers to consider fake elector crimes

Jan 26, 2024 | 5:30 am ET
By Austin Fisher
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Gov. directs lawmakers to consider fake elector crimes
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Prosecutor Sean Sullivan, Attorney General Raúl Torrez, and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver discussed the findings of the investigation of the 2020 fake presidential elector scheme with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 17. (Photo by Austin Fisher / Source NM)

New Mexico’s governor has given state lawmakers the go-ahead to consider closing what the state’s top prosecutor says is a loophole in election law that allowed the 2020 fake electors in the state to escape criminal liability.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed an executive message allowing the Legislature to consider a bill “creating the election offenses of disrupting election results and falsely acting as a presidential elector.”

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez is asking lawmakers to change election law in order to prevent another fake presidential elector scheme like the one in 2020.

Maddy Hayden, a spokesperson for the governor, said Thursday the executive message was in response to the New Mexico Department of Justice’s findings from a two-year investigation of the scheme.

This month the Office of the Attorney General rebranded itself as the New Mexico Department of Justice.

Torrez and the prosecutor who investigated the scheme on Jan. 17 explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee they didn’t pursue charges against New Mexico’s fake electors because the certificate of electoral votes they signed did not say they were the legitimate presidential electors, and because the state’s election law doesn’t include that record in the definition of “false election documents.”

Judiciary committee chair Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) said he wanted Lujan Grisham to put the bill “on the call” during the short session. He was not immediately available for comment on who will carry the legislation in the Senate.

The bill will start in the House of Representatives. As of Thursday morning, it had not been introduced. It will appear here when a lawmaker does introduce the proposal.

Torrez said on Jan. 17 there is “a potential sponsor” but did not identify them.