February 21, 2024

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A New Mexico county commissioner convicted for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has vowed to defy a state Supreme Court order and not certify primary-election results in his county during a scheduled Friday meeting, a decision that could throw the state’s electoral process into chaos.

Couy Griffin, 48, the founder of a group called Cowboys for Trump, said in an interview that he was too concerned about the security of the state’s voting machines to vote to certify the June 7 primary-election results for Otero County, citing widely discredited theories about hacking and election fraud.

The three-member, all-Republican commission in the small county on the Texas border is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting Friday afternoon to decide whether to certify election results in time to meet a state deadline. A second jurisdiction in the central part of the state, Torrance County, had delayed a certification vote earlier this week and was due to consider the issue Friday morning.

Griffin on Friday was in Washington, where he was set to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on one count of entering a restricted area during the Capitol attack.

“My oath to the people I serve is more important than any threat the government makes toward me,” Griffin said in an interview Thursday. “If they threaten me by putting me in prison, I’ll honorably go to prison.”

Couy Griffin guilty of trespassing during U.S. Capitol attack

On Wednesday, New Mexico’s Supreme Court granted an emergency petition by the secretary of state asking that the Otero commissioners do their job and approve some 7,300 votes from the June 7 primary, where races such as the county’s only state legislative seat and county sheriff hang in the balance.

New Mexico’s Supreme Court orders county commission to certify vote

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has also referred the matter to the state’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, saying in a motion filed Thursday that the Otero commission had committed “multiple unlawful actions” when it voted to hand-count election returns, remove ballot boxes, discontinue use of state voting systems and delay certifying the primary vote.

Griffin and the other two Otero commissioners — Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly, neither of whom returned calls or emails requesting comment — face being held in contempt of court and penalties, such as potentially being removed from office.

“The Commission must comply with the rule of law or we will take legal action,” Balderas said in a statement.

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