CLERK’S OFFICE TURNS OVER BLANK PRIMARY BALLOTS TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY

CLERK’S OFFICE TURNS OVER BLANK PRIMARY BALLOTS TO DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Interim Doña Ana County Clerk J. Joe Martinez announced today that his office has turned over to the District Attorney’s Office about 400 blank ballots from the 2002 Primary Election.

The blank ballots were found Tuesday in a plumbing access corridor of the old Doña Ana County jail by Bureau of Elections staff members performing routine voting machine maintenance. Under state law, the blank ballots should have been destroyed the day prior to the June 4, 2002, Primary Election.

Martinez said one of the two Bureau of Elections employees noticed a piece of paper sticking out of a six-inch drain hole adjacent to the floor of one of the old cellblocks where the county’s voting machines are now stored. The employee determined that the paper was a ballot and notified Elections Coordinator Andy Perez. Perez notified

Martinez and Interim Chief Deputy Clerk Don Manzanares, who opened the plumbing access corridor and saw a bundle of blank ballots stuffed inside.

Martinez notified the Secretary of State’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating and prosecuting allegations of criminal elections misconduct against suspended County Clerk Ruben Ceballos. The District Attorney’s Office sent an investigator to inspect the corridor, and the investigator seized all of the blank ballots for evidence.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.