Elections chief confident in secretary of state

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Some county clerks say they have little confidence the SOS’s office

By Susan M. Bryan

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico’s new elections director said allegations of ethics violations within the secretary of state’s office will not hamper the administration of this year’s elections.

However, some county clerks say they have little confidence in the secretary of state’s office, and political observers suggest the allegations and a recent string of corruption scandals involving New Mexico Democrats could result in fallout at the polls this year.

Secretary of State Mary Herrera, New Mexico’s No. 3 elected official and the state’s chief elections officer, was accused earlier this month by a former elections director of violating the Governmental Conduct Act.

Herrera has denied claims that she ordered certain employees to collect signatures for her re-election campaign and that she insisted employees solicit “sponsorships or donations” from businesses that contract with the state to support training seminars for county clerk staff.

While the allegations may not be as serious as those leveled in scandals that landed two former state treasurers and a former state Senate leader in federal prison, political analyst Brian Sanderoff said the claims against the secretary of state’s office could be used as political ammunition.

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