Common Cause New Mexico Denounces Election Violations Alleged in New Ethics Complaint

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TORRANCE, NM — The New Mexico State Ethics Commission has filed a complaint against Torrance County Clerk, Yvonne Otero, for violating the state’s Governmental Conduct Act by abusing the powers and resources of her office for her own personal gain. 

The Ethics Commission alleges that Yvonne Otero interfered with Torrence County elections by deleting ballots cast under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act, failing to correctly process the ballots she did receive, and by attempting to pre-certify ballot tabulators so she could go on vacation. The complaint continues to assert that she violated the public trust in her office by engaging in inappropriate, intimate encounters during work hours; referencing her own illicit drug use; and by abusing her power over subordinate employees by placing them in inappropriate situations and subjecting them to danger and threats for “both amusement and coercion.”

Statement of Mario Jimenez, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico:

“New Mexicans deserve a government that is worthy of public trust. Torrance County’s Clerk broke that trust and violated the sanctity of her office by abusing her power in an attempt to manipulate the results of an election. Our right to vote is sacred, and those who have a hand in averting the will of the people have no business running our elections. 

No one is above the law. If the allegations presented in this complaint are substantiated, Yvonne Otero should be held accountable to the fullest extent that the law allows. Though this situation is unfortunate, it demonstrates that the New Mexico Ethics Commission is not only working in the best interest of the people, but that our state’s ethics laws are working exactly as they should in safeguarding our democracy.” 

Statement of Heather Ferguson, director of state operations for Common Cause: 

“New Mexico’s democratic institutions are faced with threats from election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and partisan agitators. We must work to restore faith in our democracy by holding those who seek to derail it accountable. 

While Yvonne Otero may have failed the people of Torrance County, New Mexico’s Ethics Commission has defended the peoples’ votes. Common Cause applauds the commission for taking action in seeking to enforce its Governmental Conduct Act, and should the allegations be proven true, we have faith in the commission’s ability to issue the appropriate penalties.”