New Mexico had the nation's highest percentage of under-votes for the presidential race, a statewide rate of 2.45%. That figure was determined by taking the difference between the statewide totals of ballots cast and presidential votes. In addition, there were an estimated 2,087 so-called "phantom votes" (also called over-votes), found where there were more votes for a candidate than there were ballots cast. In addition to the under-vote and "phantom vote" problems with New Mexico's 2004 election tally, there were many unanswered questions about provisional ballots, missing votes and the integrity of voting machines that didn't produce a paper trail.
No logical explanation exists for this "phantom vote" phenomenon. However, each "phantom vote" is used to cancel out one under-vote, so there likely were 2,087 more undervotes that were not counted in the New Mexico vote totals. President Bush won the state by about 7,000 votes.
Democratic Officials Block the Recount
New Mexico's Democratic Governor Bill Richardson and Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron were against the recount effort from the start, possibly because much of the alleged fraud happened in Hispanic precincts. Although the alleged fraud seems to have helped Republicans, having a recount would cast a shadow on the state's two highest-ranking Hispanic Democrats. Governor Richardson has presidential aspirations, and Ms. Vigil-Giron currently serves as national president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
The information below, in reverse chronological order, provides brief summaries of the recount developments in New Mexico, along with links to further information.
Updates (reverse chronological order)
January 14, 2005
New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron authorized county election officials to clear voting machines despite pending appeals that could result in a recount of November 2 votes. Cobb and Badnarik objected, and filed a request for a temporary restraining order seeking to prevent clearing of the voting machines. press release
December 28, 2004
David Cobb and Michael Badnarik filed a Notice of Appeal from a District Court decision which rejected their request to start the New Mexico recount without paying the entire cost of it in advance. Last week the New Mexico Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Since the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case, it can be heard by the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Notices also were sent to the New Mexico Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Clerks for all of New Mexico's 33 counties, that the Notice of Appeal prevents them from "opening and clearing" voting machines throughout the state. press release
December 23, 2004
The New Mexico Supreme Court declined to hear the Green Party petition for a writ of mandamus, upholding a State Canvassing Board decision that Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik pay the full cost of the New Mexico recount in advance (estimated by the Board at $1.4 million). That decision was contrary to New Mexico law, because there is no legal requirement that campaigns pay the full cost in advance, nor any way to accurately estimate the cost of the recount before it is completed. press release commentary: Mock the Vote more updates
December 19, 2004
Citizen activists will be converging on the New Mexico state Capitol at noon today (Sunday), in support of the recount. The rally will include speeches by Paul Christie of PACE, a New Mexico nonprofit organization, and Rick Lass for the Cobb campaign. The rally is co-sponsored by the Green Parties of Taos and Santa Fe, Veterans for Peace Santa Fe Chapter 55, and Verified Voting New Mexico. Over eight hundred citizen activists have volunteered to observe the recount, nearly two hundred of whom have attended training sessions in the last week. more
December 17, 2004
The Cobb-LaMarche legal team is continuing to weigh its options after a New Mexico court reaffirmed a decision by New Mexico's Democratic Governor Bill Richardson and two colleagues on the New Mexico State Canvassing Board to allow a recount of the state's presidential ballots, but only if David Cobb and other recount advocates paid $1.4 million by yesterday to cover recount costs. We did not pay the $1.4 million, and updates to this story will be posted here soon. Read the hearing transcript to get a better understanding of how Gov. Richardson and his colleagues view the recount.
December 16, 2004
The Cobb-LaMarche legal team files a Verified Petition for Mandamus; Verified Petition for Superintending Control or Prohibition; and Request for Immediate Hearing with the New Mexico Supreme Court. The Petition and Supplement detail the reasons why the New Mexico recount should proceed.
December 15, 2004
The state Canvassing Board on Tuesday, after some deliberation, granted a late November request for a recount by presidential candidates David Cobb of the Green Party and Michael Badnarik, a Libertarian. However, according to state election officials, recount proponents will have to come up with $1.4 million by 10 a.m. Thursday in order to proceed. Recount proponents are going back to court to have the $1.4 million charge dropped. see article
December 13, 2004
Judge Carol Vigil today affirmed Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb's right to a recount of the presidential vote in New Mexico but the Judge declined to order the state canvassing board to begin the recount immediately. "There's tremendous grassroots support for the recount and for verifying the accuracy of our voting system. We have 800 volunteers who are ready to jump in and monitor the recount process," said Rick Lass, the New Mexico recount coordinator for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign. see press release
November 29, 2004
Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik, jointly filed official requests for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in New Mexico and Nevada. see press release