Maggie Toulouse Oliver, NM Secretary of State
Air Dates: November 13-15, 2021
This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. For the first time speaking publicly in an in-depth interview, Oliver discusses the fallout from the 2020 election, and the intimidation and threats to elections officials in N.M. and nationwide.
The Secretary of State describes the death threats made to her personally at the time of the 2020 election, and the steps she took against them in conjunction with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Police.
She reveals the surprising source of those threats, as determined by the FBI, and how the bounty on her and other national elected officials was to be paid.
This week marks one year since the 2020 election, and the one-year anniversary of the initiation of the “big lie,” which wrongfully casts suspicion and doubt on the integrity of our elections. Toulouse Oliver analyzes the many laws passed in many states to actually suppress voting and other manifestations of what many observers see as an attack on democracy.
She presents ways we can proactively protect our elections officials in the next election because it is not just secretaries of state around the country that are threatened -- it is county clerks, local county and city election officials, and even volunteer poll workers.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver is the Chief Elections Officer for New Mexico and was elected to the office of NM Secretary of State in 2016. She served as the President of the National Association of Secretaries of State and describes the intimidation and threats to election officials across the nation, telling many frightening stories about her colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, in Michigan, Arizona, Utah, Georgia, and more.
“The stories from my colleagues are in many cases quite tragic,” explains Oliver. “My colleague, Jocelyn Benson (D) who is the secretary of state in Michigan, literally can’t leave her home without police protection. She has a young child at home, (and) not a week goes by where there isn’t somebody that shows up with a gun outside of her home. My dear friend, Barbara Cegavske (R), who is the Nevada Secretary of State, her biggest concern has been the threats that have come in to her staff. And she says that time and time again that it is not just about focusing on her, it is about focusing on the staff.”
“And of course, Brad Raffensperger in Georgia really has had to deal with untold scariness over the last two years,” continues Oliver. Georgia is impaneling a special grand jury to prosecute the election interference of former President Trump, who called Raffensperger and illegally demanded, in a recorded call, “I want you to find 11,780 votes.”
Oliver also is part of a national group, the “Government Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure for Elections,” which works together with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that our elections are maintained as critical infrastructure.
New Mexico has an outstanding reputation for election integrity and uses unhackable paper ballots in its elections. The Secretary of State predicts some delays in New Mexico’s decennial redistricting due to the lateness of U.S. Census data being released to the states. This will affect candidates running in many districts whose boundaries will be redrawn by the NM Legislature in December.