False election claims overwhelm local efforts to push back


              Bill Peifer, Democratic Party treasurer in Torrance County, inspects ballot-counting machines during a testing of election equipment in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. “Some of the people casting doubt I think honestly don’t trust the machines,” Peifer said. “And there are others who just want to make a mess.” (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              David Clements, a New Mexico-based former prosecutor and former college professor, speaks to an audience at a public library auditorium in Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 3, 2022. At conventions, church gatherings and local forums, Clements advocates for eliminating electronic election equipment and exonerating many of the defendants charged in the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
            
              David Clements, a New Mexico-based former prosecutor and former college professor, speaks to an audience at a public library auditorium in Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 3, 2022. At conventions, church gatherings and local forums, Clements advocates for eliminating electronic election equipment and exonerating many of the defendants charged in the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
            
              A water tower stands over the county seat of Torrance County, N.M., Sept. 14 , 2022. Republican commissioners in the rural New Mexico county have tried everything they can think of to persuade voters that their elections are secure, and none of it seems to be working. They agreed to hand count ballots from the primary election, allowed the public to observe security testing of ballot machines and tasked their county manager with making sure those efforts ran smoothly. Still, many voters in Torrance County don’t trust voting machines or election results. (AP Photos/Morgan Lee)
            
              Torrance County deputy clerk Silvia Chavez, second from right, and administrative assistant clerk Kevin Pham, right, explain the tabulation receipt to local candidates and partisan officers during a ballot-counting machines testing in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              The Torrance County Board of Commissioners gathers in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 14 , 2022. Republican commissioners in the rural New Mexico county have tried everything they can think of to persuade voters that their elections are secure, and none of it seems to be working. They agreed to hand count ballots from the primary election, allowed the public to observe security testing of ballot machines and tasked their county manager with making sure those efforts ran smoothly. Still, many voters in Torrance County don’t trust voting machines or election results. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
            
              Shorty's BBQ stand co-founder Leanne Tapia pays bills during an afternoon lull on Sept. 14 , 2022, in Moriarty, N.M. She's running for Torrance County commissioner as an independent in the November general election. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
            
              Torrance County administrative assistant clerk Kevin Pham introduces a ballot in a counting machine during a testing of election equipment with local candidates and partisan officers in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              Torrance County deputy clerk Silvia Chavez, center, shows a ballot sample to local candidates and partisan officers during a ballot-counting machines testing in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              Torrance County Manager Janice Barela speaks at a meeting of the board of county commissioners in Estancia, N.M., on Wednesday, Sept. 14 , 2022. “I’m kind of pioneering this, and I’m sure I’m not going to be perfect in it, but I can tell you that I’m trying,” said Barela, the county manager overseeing the recount. “How do you know if it’s the hand tally that’s right? How do you know if it’s a tabulator that’s right? … What I’d like to see in all of this is the election process work.” (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
            
              Torrance County manager Janice Barela, left, talks with Stephen Garrett, independent candidate for county commissioner, during a ballot-counting machines testing in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              Bill Mendenhall, a corrections officer and registered Republican, speaks to the Associated Press at his ranch in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022.  Mendenhall said anger still smolders in the community over the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Trump won two-thirds of the vote in Torrance County. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              Torrance County administrative assistant clerk Kevin Pham, left, shows a ballot-counting machine to Libertarian Party county chairman Robert Wagner during a testing of election equipment in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
            
              Torrance County Commission Chairman Ryan Schwebach presides over a board meeting in Estancia, N.M., Sept. 14 , 2022. After a backlash this summer over the county’s certification of its primary results, Schwebach surveyed county residents who don’t attend public meetings. But even those who keep quiet told Schwebach they weren’t sure if they could trust election results. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
False election claims overwhelm local efforts to push back