On September 30, 2022 the Estancia News was invited to witness the certification of tabulator machines intended for the General Election. While educational and informative, the experience also led to the discovery of a baffling mystery. To prevent what we think we discovered from becoming “unsolved mysteries”, please join us on Truth Social where we can discuss each mystery. We are calling the first mystery in this series “The Case of the Magically Disappearing Tabulator Ink.”
Increased attention has been given to Torrance County Clerk Yvonne Otero following a Special Meeting held October 4, 2022. In that meeting the County Commission called attention to some disturbing allegations against the County Clerk. One of the allegations involved the Clerk pre-signing tabulator machine certifications, and then never even attending the certification process she affirmed to witnessing. That single act has already heaped significant costs and complications upon the County faced with managing the fallout, and the taxpayers faced with paying for it.
If a silver lining can be found on this dark cloud, it is that our attention has also been drawn to the little-known tabulator machine certification process New Mexico State law requires take place before every State election. The Estancia News, the Associated Press, the Libertarian Party, the Democrat Party, and multiple candidates all turned out on September 30th to witness the process.
The tabulator machines all possess the ability to fill ovals of ballots inserted into the machine, ostensibly on behalf of the visually impaired. Below are some of our observations of the “visually impaired” test we witnessed. Perhaps the public can help us solve the riddle at the end:
Observation #1: The ovals are filled in a way to mimic the way a human might fill an oval to make it difficult for anyone to discern which ballot the visually impaired cast.
Observation #2: According to the Deputy Chief Clerk and the County employees performing the certifications that day, none of them were able to recall a visually impaired voter availing themselves of the machines’ ability to fill their ballot’s ovals.
Observation #3: The employees would know to replace an ink cartridge when a ballot inserted into a machine during the visually impaired test would emerge with only lightly filled ovals.
Observation #4: We noticed at least a couple machines required their ink cartridges be replaced during their certification process.
Observation #5: The machines utilize proprietary ink cartridges labeled “Dominion”.
Observation #6: Those of us present were told that when a machine failed to fill the ovals during the visually impaired test, the “problem” was attributed to “dry ink”.
Observation #7: The Estancia News asked if we could take home the “dry” ink cartridge about to be tossed in the garbage in one instance, which we were permitted to do.
Observation #8: The “dry” ink cartridge was unscientifically opened away from the certification process. Inside the empty cartridge was a sponge. When squeezed the sponge dripped its remaining, runny contents, staining my hands.
Observation #9: A recent records request revealed 30 proprietary replacement ink cartridges were purchased prior to the 2022 Primary where less than 3000 votes were cast and no one in the Clerk’s office remembers ever seeing a visually impaired voter avail themselves of this election tabulator function.
If the visually impaired function is only utilized during the pre-election certification test, if no other function requires use of the ink cartridge, and if the County must purchase replacement cartridges, what is depleting the ink?
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