January 14, 2005

New Mexico to Start Destroying Evidence While Recount Pending


2004 Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb today accused
New Mexico election officials of "deliberately obstructing justice" by
giving counties the green light to clear electronic voting machines while a
demand for a recount of New Mexico's controversial presidential vote is
still pending.

New Mexico had the nation's highest percentage of under-votes
for the presidential race. In addition, there are still many unanswered
questions about provisional ballots, missing votes and the integrity of
voting machines which don't produce a paper trail.

"The conduct of New Mexico's Governor and Secretary of State has
gone from bad to worse. They have gone from showing a complete disregard
for New Mexico law and for the integrity of the democratic process to
deliberately obstructing justice. Clearing the electronic voting machines
while a recount demand is pending will destroy critical evidence about what
happened on Election Day. This is outrageous and makes you wonder what they
are trying to hide," said Cobb.

The recount request by Cobb and Libertarian Party presidential
candidate Michael Badnarik is now the subject of a lawsuit pending in the
New Mexico Court of Appeals.

In a letter faxed today to the New Mexico Attorney General's
office, an attorney representing the two presidential candidates objected to
the voting machines being cleared and suggested that the Secretary of State
was "shirking her responsibility to insure uniform application of the
election laws" by allowing county clerks to decide on their own whether or
not to clear the voting machines.

"Although, generally, voting machines can be cleared 30 days
after the official certification of the vote, New Mexico law is clear that
this can't happen when a recount has been initiated. With an appeal pending
in the New Mexico court system, any adjustment to the machines at this time
is clearly inappropriate and contrary to state law," said Lowell Finley, one
of the attorneys representing the candidates.

Voting rights attorneys will file a request for a temporary
restraining order tomorrow against the State Canvassing Board and county
clerks seeking to prevent them from clearing voting machines.

The State Canvassing Board, consisting of the New Mexico's
Governor, Secretary of State and Chief Justice, met tonight and formally
rejected a proposal from Cobb and Badnarik for a partial recount of the
presidential vote, which would have expedited the process, saved time and
avoided any costs to taxpayers. Previously, the Secretary of State had
unilaterally rejected this proposal though she lacked the authority to do

"New Mexico's Governor and Secretary of State are doing such a
poor job of following state law that they're starting to make Ohio's Kenneth
Blackwell look good by comparison," said Cobb-LaMarche Media Director Blair

For more information about the Cobb-LaMarche campaign and its
recount efforts in New Mexico and Ohio, see http://www.votecobb.org.

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