Albuquerque, NM – Over one hundred cards were sent to several counties in recent days, after they surfaced in the Secretary of State's office. One of the results of the cards not being delivered when they should have been, in 2008, was that some qualified voters' ballots didn't count in that year's election.
The Secretary of State's office has denied knowledge of who sent the cards out earlier this week, and has said they were mailed inadvertently.
But KUNM has learned that it was Deputy Secretary of State and now Elections Director Francisco Trujillo who directed that the cards be mailed. Trujillo told Larry Dominguez, a "term employee" in the office, to send them, but apparently didn't tell Dominguez to include an explanation as to what they were, how they should be handled, or why they were only then being mailed.
Dominguez, who refused to comment for this story, apparently did as Trujillo ordered, and county clerks report receiving the cards without a cover letter of explanation. Secretary of State Mary Herrera then apparently e-mailed Dominguez asking him why he sent the cards out, making it unclear how much she knew about what was taking place, but indicating she did know the cards had been sent out by her office and by whom.
It turns out those cards originally came into the Secretary of State's office in 2008 when Trujillo was acting Elections Director.
The discrepancy raises new questions about the state's Elections bureau under Herrera's administration and Trujillo's leadership. Herrera named Trujillo to the Elections Director post on March 19th after the resignation of the third permanent director that bureau had seen under her leadership, and the refusal of a fourth to take the position out of concerns about Trujillo.
Former Elections Director A.J. Salazar's scathing resignation letter was published last month by the Rio Grande Sun. In it, he said Herrera ordered employees to help her campaign, and blasted the Deputy Secretary, saying Trujillo had undermined him and retaliated against him. In an earlier interview with KUNM, Trujillo dismissed Salazar's concerns, and rejected statements by former Secretary of State's office employees that he was difficult to work with.
Neither Trujillo nor Herrera had responded, at airtime, to KUNM's requests for comment for this story.