The Doña Ana County Clerk acknowledges there were major personnel shortages in the office prior to the election.
“If we had additional poll workers we potentially could have appointed additional people to the absentee voter board,” said County Clerk Amanda López Askin. “We weren’t able to do that.”
This election, López Askin said the office received four times the number of absentee ballots she had expected: 8,000 in total. The results were not available until 24 hours after the election, but the county clerk said everything was done accurately.
“Was it ideal in the essence of time? No,” López Askin told ABC-7. “But, did it have integrity and was it fair? The answer is yes.”
County Commissioner Billy Garrett, representing district one, said there is no state statute that requires the county to have all ballots counted in a certain time frame.
“The focus was really on making sure all the absentee ballots were properly counted, accounted for and the tallies were done correctly,” Garrett said.
The commissioner also told ABC-7 that a number of departments in the county are understaffed, not just the county clerk’s office.
“One you’re into the election, that close, it’s sort of like, talking about not having enough staff is not the issue,” Garrett said. “It’s covering the situation and getting the job done.”