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Herrell to seek CD2 seat in 2020

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By Jill McLaughlin

Former State Representative Yvette Herrell, an Alamogordo Republican who was defeated by a slight margin in November for Congressional District 2, announced Tuesday she will seek the seat again in 2020.

Herrell lost to Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in the sprawling southern New Mexico district.

The announcement came one day after Herrell released details of her legal team’s investigation into a challenge of “voting irregularities.”

"Wages are growing at the fastest pace since 2009, Hispanic and African American unemployment are at record lows, our energy sector is thriving, and 2018 was the best year for manufacturing jobs in 20 years," Herrell in a release Tuesday. "Yet liberal politicians like Xochitl Torres Small are doing nothing but ‘resisting’ efforts to make our country a better place for all Americans.”

Herrell said she would work hard to keep the economy growing, safeguard New Mexico’s way of life from government overreach and push for solutions and funding to protect the borders.

Herrell’s legal team released a statement Monday about its findings regarding absentee ballot returns in Doña Ana County. The team said it examined the procedures used by the county clerk's office for receiving absentee ballot applications and the processing and security of ballots.

Herrell said she did not dispute the outcome of the election in November or allege any misconduct but cited widespread concerns raised by the media and individual voters about election integrity, from North Carolina to California when deciding to take a closer look at the ballots following the election.

"On election night and in the days immediately following, we received numerous reports of irregularities, both from poll workers as well as individual voters," said Herrell, "we were urged to take a closer look at the process and I ultimately decided to do just that for the sake of assuring voters that our elections do in fact provide for transparency and public review."

One matter raised concerns, Herrell said, when there were some 2,977 absentee ballots mailed out without being returned, a non-return rate of about 25 persent, some four to five times the normal rate of unreturned ballots. A number of voters had complained about receiving absentee ballots in the mail or being on the list of absentee voters, despite never having applied for an absentee ballot, she said in the release.

"Taken together, the numbers of reported irregularities were such that I felt I owed it to voters, as well as to lawmakers, to undertake a thorough review," said Herrell. "It is important that voters have faith in the integrity of elections, and there was a need to know how the election administration took place and to see if anything could be learned that might be useful in terms of amending or updating the Election Code.”

The information may be reviewed by state legislative committees, she said.

"I did not believe that there were reasons to contest the election, but I did strongly feel that there were enough claims of irregularities to warrant a full review, and that we might learn things that could be of use to State House and Senate Committees as they continually try to update and improve our election laws."