Mario Jimenez III, Common Cause NM, discussing election issues
Air Dates: September 25-27, 2021
This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Mario Jimenez III, the former chief deputy county clerk in Dona Ana County, now working on election issues with Common Cause NM, discussing serious threats experienced by election workers, voter intimidation, and maintaining the integrity of our elections.
Mario Jimenez has 17 years of experience navigating elections, from working elections in the county clerk's office in Dona Ana County, to serving twice as president of the County Clerks affiliate, where he helped set up New Mexico’s Voter Convenience Centers. He also is a member of the Voting Systems Certification Committee, where he helped make the voting machines more user-friendly by becoming ADA compliant and more efficient, and is certified as a voting machine technician who can program and repair voting machines, so has practical, on-the-ground knowledge.
Jimenez discusses many instances of New Mexican election administrators and poll workers being intimidated and receiving death threats while trying to perform their duties as election officials. False accusations that they were liars and thieves, racist emails, and threats on their lives made their work extremely unsafe for anyone working to staff election precincts and voting locations.
Even New Mexico's chief elections officer, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver received so many threats to her safety that she left home for weeks after the 2020 election and had to have police protection due to death threats. Her name and personal information were published on a website called "Enemies of the People" with a target superimposed on her photograph. She is working on ways to safeguard the country's elections with a national council partnering with the US Dept. of Homeland Security.
This dangerous trend can be observed nationally as well as locally. The promotion of the Big Lie regarding the 2020 election, has not only encouraged fanatical behavior among some disgruntled voters, but also tarnished and eroded the faith Americans have in their voting and elections systems.
New Mexicans can be proud that this state is one of the best in the nation for election integrity and the paper ballot system provides completely trackable and easily auditable voting records. It is important that we make the elections environment a safe space for our election officials to work in without fear of harm.