New Mexico AG says bogus GOP electors can’t be charged, suggests changes


The state’s chief prosecutor said Friday that under present law, the state’s five Republican electors cannot be charged for filing election certificates that falsely declared Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic Attorney General Raul Torrez, on the other hand, is presenting proposals to state lawmakers that he claims will improve the security of the state’s voting process and offer legal authorities for punishing such behavior in the future.

New Mexico is one of several states where phony electors sought to cast ballots suggesting that Trump had won, a scheme that has resulted in criminal charges being filed against Trump and his accomplices. Separate investigations were conducted by Democratic officials in various states, resulting in indictments of Republican voters.

Fake credentials were submitted in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all battleground states.

Fake electors in New Mexico and Pennsylvania inserted a disclaimer that the certificate was submitted in case they were later recognized as lawfully elected, qualified electors. That would have been conceivable only if Trump had won any of the dozen or so legal challenges he conducted against states in the weeks following the election.

President Joe Biden won the 2020 election in New Mexico by almost 11 percentage points, the greatest margin among the states where so-called phony electors were involved.

New Mexico AG says bogus GOP electors can't be charged, suggests changes

In connection with fake election certificates, a Nevada grand jury indicted six Republicans in December on felony charges of presenting a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument. They have pled innocent.

In July 2023, Michigan’s Attorney General filed felony charges against 16 Republican imposters, who would face eight criminal charges, including forgery and conspiracy to conduct electoral falsification, however, one had charges reduced after reaching a cooperation agreement. The most serious offense carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

Three bogus electors have also been indicted in Georgia, where they were charged alongside Trump in a broad indictment accusing them of conspiring to illegally reverse the presidential election results. They have both pled not guilty.

John Eastman, a Santa Fe attorney and former law professor, is among those charged in a Fulton County indictment.

The phony certificates were forwarded to federal authorities for investigation by then-New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat. Torrez assumed office in 2023 and immediately started a state investigation to establish whether the electors had committed any crimes.

Torrez’s office stated that investigators combed through thousands of pages of records pertaining to actions in New Mexico and other battleground states. They also spoke with the five Republican electors.

New Mexico AG says bogus GOP electors can't be charged, suggests changes

Prosecutors in New Mexico claim that Trump’s staff offered directions for compiling and submitting the documents. In contrast to the certification paperwork given to other states, those utilized in New Mexico were contingent on Trump winning his challenges.

While it was deplorable that New Mexicans were involved in a scheme to “undermine democracy,” Torrez admitted that the behavior of GOP electors in New Mexico was not criminally prosecutable.

He is requesting that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democratic-controlled Legislature modify the state election code to allow prosecutors more leeway in prosecuting these types of crimes in the future.

Torrez’s recommendations include broadening the restriction on forged election documents to include presidential elector certificates and enacting new legislation against falsely claiming to be a presidential elector.

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