Primary votes certified

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

After two meetings and eight days, final vote totals from last week’s primary election were certified during a special meeting Wednesday of the Curry County Commission.

County officials said software problems incurred during the election delayed canvassing of the more than 4,100 votes in party races for county and state positions.

According to New Mexico state statute, the commissioners were required to convene three days after the election to canvass the votes. However, voting administrator and County Deputy Clerk Coni Jo Lyman requested additional time to tally the votes.

Lyman presented the final votes Wednesday and said she was confident in the results because her staff had “checked, re-checked and checked again.”

Curry County Clerk Mario Trujillo said the delay was caused by unforeseen glitches in new, state-mandated software used to process the voting results.

“This is the first election where 32 (New Mexico) counties were using this software,” Trujillo said, “and everyone uses the same server.”

The inundation of votes to Santa Fe on election night caused the main server to crash several times, Trujillo said.

To insure the integrity of the vote, the staff of the clerk’s office processed the votes through the old software that was utilized in previous elections without incident, according to Lyman.

Trujillo said the staff then compared the old software’s computation with the new software results, and found them to be identical.

“We’re happy with the results,” Trujillo said.

Curry County Commission Chairman Tim Ashley said if blame was going to be placed regarding the delay, it should fall on the state’s shoulders.

“It was their (state of New Mexico) mandated software that caused confusion,” Ashley said, “and it (software) definitely created delays.”

Ashley said he had confidence in the final count.

“I’m glad we have a clerk who is willing to take some personal heat to ensure a fair and accurate election.”

Robert Sandoval, who won the Democratic bid for District 1 county commissioner, said he was not bothered by the delay. “It is better to err on the side of caution,” said Sandoval, who attended the vote canvass to hear the final results.

“I’m glad they (clerk’s office) took the extra time.”

According to Sandoval, he has full confidence in the clerk’s office.

“I believe their (clerk’s office) hands are tied by state laws,” he said, “but I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Coni Jo (Lyman) and Mario (Trujillo).”

Trujillo said he plans to recommend the New Mexico secretary of state provide individual servers to counties to alleviate the delay.

An official in the secretary of state’s office said Wednesday there was no one available to talk about the election.