Attorneys for the state and incumbent New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell negotiated through Monday evening in an unsuccessful effort to resolve issues on how a recount of votes in the closely contested election for land commissioner should be conducted. A state Supreme Court hearing that was scheduled for Monday afternoon to hear motions filed by Powell regarding the recount process was postponed until 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, while the two sides try to hammer out an agreement. Powell has challenged the method the State Canvassing Board approved in late November for calibrating vote tabulating machines and reviewing ballots during the recount, among other issues.
Meanwhile, the State Canvassing Board, which is made up of the governor, the secretary of state and the state Supreme Court chief justice, is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Office of the Governor on the fourth floor of the Capitol to discuss the recount.
The final unofficial election results posted by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office placed Powell, a Democrat and veterinarian, 704 votes behind his Republican challenger, rancher and banker, Aubrey Dunn. That margin between the two candidates equals about .14 percent of the 499,666 ballots cast in the race. State law requires an automatic recount when the difference is less than half a percent of the total ballots cast.