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SANTA FE — Hoyt Clifton arrived in Santa Fe just a few years after I got here in 1965.
It seemed as though he was the New Mexico elections expert from the beginning but his obituary says he was just the voting machine specialist for the first few years.
It’s interesting. Clifton came to Santa Fe because of his knowledge of handling the huge 850-pound voting machines of the day. Today, we are back to a pencil and paper.
As long as I can remember when anyone had a question about elections they called Hoyt.
He could explain anything in the election code because he had written most of it. If it was a complicated question, he would patiently explain the background and the problem it was designed to correct.
Many amendments to the election code are introduced every year. Those who worked with Clifton say he could look at any bill and immediately be able to explain what the sponsor was trying to do.
One day I called the Secretary of State’s Office and the secretary of state herself answered the phone.
She said Hoyt was not there but that she could help me. I’m sure she could have helped but I was so accustomed to talking with Hoyt that I said to just have him call Jay Miller went he got back.
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