Exclusive — New Mexico GOP Chair on Victory Against Left on Vote by Mail: ‘A Strong Success for the Republic’

A box of ballots mailed in for the Washington state primary election are shown Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Wash. Washington is a vote-by-mail state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

New Mexico GOP chairman and former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce told Breitbart News exclusively on Wednesday that his state party’s victory in the state Supreme Court against a scheme by leftists in the state to institute voting by mail using the coronavirus crisis is a win for election integrity.

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard an argument brought by the Secretary of State and several county election clerks arguing that the courts should intervene and allow statewide voting by mail (VBM) in the upcoming June primary  due to the coronavirus crisis. The petitioners’ argument was that the courts should set policy on how elections are conducted, not the legislature, which is supposed to do such things.

The state GOP intervened and won its argument against them, with the Supreme Court siding against the petitioners unanimously, stopping the effort in a massive blow to the Democrat Party’s national agenda of attempting to get mail-in voting instituted everywhere.

“For me, it was just sort of a reassurance that the system works properly,” Pearce told Breitbart News. “The closer you get into the government, it’s easier to become jaded about the process, and so you think everything is going to become political. The political process is in the legislature. In the closing days, they tried to get a sweeping reform bill through the legislature this year, but conservative Democrats joined with Republicans and defeated it. Everybody thought that was the end of it. but then this court filing takes place and the senator who filed it actually used to be the executive director for the county clerks, and so he has good relationships with almost all of them, and he got to them first and said, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing.’ As soon as we got wind of it, we had a call with all of the Republican clerks and said, ‘Look, here’s what’s going on and you got to be careful on this.’ Some of them opted to stay—they’re not left-leaning, or they’re not in very conservative counties themselves, or conservatives, but they just felt like keeping people safe was the best way, and mailing out ballots seems so easy compared to this kind of cumbersome process of the absentee vote. We argued with them that legal is not always easy, and easy is not always legal. That was basically our argument to the courts. Our constitution is pretty firm that this is a legislative question—the courts can decide if the law allows it. We don’t think that it does. That was the core of our argument and the court sided with us. It’s sort of refreshing that—there are four Democrats on the court and one Republican—it’s refreshing that they left the politics to the legislature and they did what the courts do and took a blind eye to who the participants were and simply weighed the case and found on our side. It wasn’t such a triumphant feeling as it was a reassuring feeling. It’s refreshing to know the system still works the way it’s supposed to. That’s the way we reacted to it as a party. We were the only intervening party in the case. I appreciate TTV [True The Vote] was there as a backstop if it were to go to the federal courts, but to tell you the truth, the party originated it, paid for it, and were the only interveners, and we appreciate their help.”

Pearce said that this effort is the latest in a long line in New Mexico politics of the left—in particular, the Secretary of State—that he has had to fight legally. He said he has won each of them.

“The legal team that I have brought three actions against the Secretary of State on our gubernatorial race last year and we won all three of them, so now we’re 4-0 against the Secretary of State,” Pearce said. “She’s actually a decent person, but she keeps getting outside the law. I think that’s our responsibility as a party to bring it to the attention of our government agencies when they operate outside the law—and we’ve been successful all four times we’ve tried, and we’ve got another court case coming up. We’ve been very active in maintaining the discipline of the system because we have to, and overall we’re very satisfied with the result last night, that the law prevails and we will let people social distance at the polls. The courts declared you got to still follow the law, because the law declares the minimum number of places have got to be open. You got to still social distance, and a lot of people are going to elect to do absentee votes, but some process is moving forward and I think this was a strong victory for the republican form of government—I’m not saying the Republican Party, it was a strong success for the republic.”

The Democrat Party nationally has been attempting to use the coronavirus crisis to jam through as much of its election changes agenda as possible, everywhere it can. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to get these changes in the phase three relief bill to no avail, as Republicans stopped her on Capitol Hill. She and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been pushing this as well in future coronavirus relief efforts, as have former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama—even though voting by mail and ballot harvesting have nothing to do with coronavirus. But in addition to the broader national push from Washington, DC, from Democrats on this, there is a coordinated effort at the state and local level to push this agenda everywhere the left can attempt to do so—and that’s something Pearce recognized when he galvanized the state party into action against this.

“I’ve seen that for several years that the restrictions against illegal voting keep getting less implemented, and they make it harder to implement,” Pearce said. “So, New Mexico has had a history of fraudulent voting. We continue to fight back. The VBM system was going to be the final push for them. They have teams—take a look back at ACORN and you’ll know they have teams of people in every state that will go out and harvest ballots. They also control enough of the district attorneys nationwide that they feel like that’s never going to be a problem to them. Republican district attorneys will actually prosecute it no matter who it is. If you look at North Carolina the only real case that has stood up was against a Republican. But believe me the harvesting of ballots is a threat to the republic. The Democrats I think are far more prone to do that. They have the structural pieces and community organizers who will go out and implement these pieces. So again we felt like it was a huge success because the opportunities for fraud are so great with the VBM system that they are not able to do that via absentee voting. That’s the reason they’re pushing so hard to change it, because they can only get so many votes under the absentee system. I’ll tell you, when we ran as a Republican in New Mexico, our statement was ‘okay team, we know how the other side works. Our job is to go out and win by more than they can cheat by.’ And we would do that. If the [difference in] votes gets down to 4,000 or 5,000 votes, you can see that change in a hurry in New Mexico.”

In close elections, which New Mexico has had its fair share of, Pearce said this could be the difference.

“You can look back to 2004, with the hanging chad in Florida,” Pearce said. “New Mexico was thought at that point that we might be the deciding five votes in the election—it didn’t turn out that way, but Bill Richardson kept this state’s election open for 23 days. Everybody else had certified and locked in. George Bush was ahead by 35,000 votes on election day in New Mexico, and that margin kept creeping down over the 23 days to where it was 5,000 when they finally certified the election. But by then it was obvious New Mexico was not going to play [a role in deciding the winner]. And, it’s the sort of thing we constantly fight in New Mexico, so again having a court set aside the politics of it and deciding on the merits of the law was such a tremendous step. I’m complimenting every single one of the justices who did this with principle and not their party, I really think that needs to be commended.”

One of the reasons why the GOP’s win—and the left’s loss—in this New Mexico case is so significant is that it sets the tone for the broader fight ahead nationwide. As Breitbart News reported Tuesday evening, True the Vote—a grassroots election integrity group—filed an amicus brief on the matter that made clear that if the Supreme Court ruled the other way, this would end up in federal court next. True the Vote is moving on to Nevada, where leftists are engaged in similar behavior.

Pearce told Breitbart News that the concern about what effects this could have beyond New Mexico in terms of the precedent this could set are a large part of the engagement he and the state party led.

“We saw this from the beginning, and it was one of my arguments to the Republican clerks to please understand this is much bigger than New Mexico, and if they succeed here they’re going to use this court to implement it everywhere,” Pearce said. “So again I don’t blame county clerks for staying and doing what they felt like they should do in their county, but we in the state party felt like we needed to file the intervening suit, which we did. Then we got four of the clerks to leave and come with us and almost all of the legislators signed onto our suit, so there were a lot of good strong principled people who were sticking with us through it.”

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