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State Auditor issues Letter of Concern on Otero County audit

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Hannah Colton / KUNM
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New Mexico's State Auditor has issued a letter of concern to the commissioners of Otero County about an audit of the 2020 election underway there.

The Office of the State Auditor conducted fact finding regarding allegations it received that Otero County may have misspent government funds when it allotted nearly $50,000 for a private company to audit the 2020 election results.

Although Donald Trump won the presidential election in that county, one of the commissioners there, Couy Griffin, has said he believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that he hopes the Otero County audit will create a blueprint for other counties to audit their votes.

The State Auditor's letter says Otero County may have not been effectively managing contract compliance. It expresses concern about volunteers working to support the audit falsely representing themselves as being from the county. And it notes the commissioners provided no
specific facts to support allegations of fraud. The letter requests an action plan within 15 days.

In an email to KUNM, Griffin criticized the State Auditor and said that he does not trust the Secretary of State or the Attorney General and that the standard audits of the 2020 vote were, "like the criminal heading the investigation".

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.