House Oversight Committee opens investigation into New Mexico 2020 election audit

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) makes an opening statement during a hearing on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 to discuss combating ransomware attacks.
Greg Nash

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Thursday that it opened an investigation into a New Mexico county’s audit of the 2020 presidential election.

The panel is probing the audit in Otero County, N.M., in which volunteers from a contracted group allegedly went door-to-door to canvass voters. They were reportedly working to discern if the county’s voter registration database was accurate.

Former President Trump won the presidential election in Otero County, according to the jurisdiction’s online results, besting then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden by roughly 6,000 votes.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) penned a letter to V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the head of the group EchoMail, on Wednesday to inquire about its participation in the Otero County audit.

Ayyadurai has previously helped advance conspiracy theories related to the 2020 presidential race and his defeat in a Massachusetts state Senate election, according to The Associated Press.

In January the Otero County commissioner approved a contract worth $49,750 that would go towards a review of election records and voter registration information for the county that connected to the 2020 presidential election, according to the AP.

The county commission brought EchoMail on to work on the venture. The group had previously been hired by GOP state lawmakers in Arizona to work on the 2020 election review in Maricopa County.

“The right to vote is protected by the Constitution and is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter Thursday. “The Committee is investigating whether your company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters.”

At the time, EchoMail had reportedly decided to bring in volunteers under the direction of New Mexico Audit Force to conduct the canvass. The leaders of that group, according to the committee, were working to “pinpoint” a “list of suspects” for “criminal prosecution.”

The committee, citing press reports, said that group is a non-government organization led by conspiracists who believe in the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump via fraud.

The lawmakers said they are “deeply concerned about your company’s role in this effort, given your participation in the discredited ‘audit’ in Maricopa County, Arizona, and your personal embrace of election conspiracy theories.”

“The Committee is also alarmed by your company’s involvement in a door-to-door canvass of Otero County voters, which is apparently being conducted by volunteers from a conspiracist group whose leaders aim to ‘pinpoint’ a ‘list of suspects’ for ‘criminal prosecution,’ and called for ‘arrests,’ ‘prosecutions,’ and ‘firing squads,’” they added.

Maloney and Raskin said the canvass may be illegal, and noted that more than 60 residents in Otero County have reached out to state and local officials to express concerns about contacts with the canvassers.

Lawmakers on the House panel are specifically asking for all relevant communications regarding the audit. The committee also requested documents and communications related to the payment and funding reimbursement of the audit, in addition to outside fundraising.

The committee asked that all information is produced by March 31.

Maloney and Raskin also penned a letter to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on Wednesday, asking that the Department of Justice review “potential ongoing civil rights violations arising from a canvass of voters in Otero County, New Mexico.” 
A DOJ spokeswoman told The Hill on Thursday that the department received the letter and “will review it to determine next steps.”
The Hill reached out to EchoMail for comment.
— Updated at 7:26 p.m.
Tags Canvassing Carolyn Maloney Donald Trump Election audit Jamie Raskin Joe Biden Kristen Clarke Otero County the big lie

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