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Monday, October 11, 2010

Secretary of State Mary Herrera Rallies Supporters in Las Cruces


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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

Secretary of State Mary Herrera swung back at critics at a fundraising event held in Las Cruces on Sunday afternoon, expressing pride at having professionalized her office and having effectively erased an inherited $3 million dollar debt. “That never seems to be reported in the press,” Herrera said. “When I took office the accounting systems were in chaos,” she continued. Herrera also pointed out that she had inherited a Secretary of State’s office whose electronic systems were inadequate, out of date and technologically insecure. “We are now a national model for running elections,” she said.

Citing the economic efficiencies she has brought to the Secretary of State’s office, Herrera pointed to her decision to revert to printing ballots by demand, a system by which only ballots needed on election day are generated at local polling stations. Ballot-by-demand has slashed $303,000 from the state budget. Also cut was an additional $250,000 in postage, a savings Herrera negotiated by obtaining a lower postal rate for absentee ballots and other communications sent through the post office. Herrera also pointed to an electronic record system that is being piloted in Taos, Valencia and Lea counties that she envisions being implemented statewide to further trim the budget in her office.

Herrera said she was proud to have implemented a model state campaign donor reporting system at a fraction of the cost that other states have spent. She established New Mexico’s reporting system by purchasing a software system developed by Washington state for $50,000 and scaling the software to New Mexico’s needs. She also brought the electronic delivery system in-house to further reduce costs. Previously New Mexico had outsourced its reporting system. Herrera noted that Wyoming is currently spending over $2.5 million to produce the same results, while New Mexico's system costs only $176,000 annually.

She also took pride in the effectiveness of the vote reporting and accuracy of her office. “Protecting the vote is the most important thing we do,” Herrera said. Herrera has been brought to Washington testify to Congressional committees on her effective implementation of election reform measures mandated by Congress.

On Sunday, State Senator Mary Jane Garcia strongly urged local Democrats to support Herrera and to remember the importance of less visible races like that of Secretary of State. “We need to make sure Florida never happens again,” Garcia said.

Asked what she intended for a second term, Mary Herrera promised to seek authority to permit absentee ballots from military personnel to be canvassed over an additional period. Ballots from military personnel serving overseas frequently fail to arrive in time to meet the statutory deadlines for being counted. “It doesn’t cost a thing to wait a few extra days,” Herrera said. She also outlined her plans to establish vote centers throughout New Mexico.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

October 11, 2010 at 10:36 AM in 2010 NM Secretary of State Race, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Events, Las Cruces | Permalink

Comments

My experience with Mary as I have worked with Paul Stokes to continue to improve the election process in New Mexico has been excellent. Mary has been very open to our suggestions and has assisted us as we have worked to pass new legislation. Her help was invaluable in bringing the new audit system throught the State Legislature.

Please support Mary Herrera for Secretary of State.

Terry Riley

Posted by: Terry Riley | Oct 11, 2010 10:59:27 AM

The "reporters" like to pick on Mary and print the BS allegations of people against her as facts. They think it's fun and it's real easy to do but don't believe them. The right wing machine is pushing hard to grab this position away from Democrats so they can mess with redistricting like DeLay did in Texas. Don't fall for it.

Posted by: I support Herrera | Oct 11, 2010 1:59:02 PM

Yea bean counters!

Posted by: thelonius | Oct 11, 2010 3:01:58 PM

You just keep right on sending corrupt politicos like Mary back to Santa Fe. Perhaps we should start discussing who will replace Ms Herrera after she is indicted? We need more like Hector Balderas, less like Mary.

Posted by: New Mexicow | Oct 12, 2010 2:09:52 PM

And she is corrupt how? Have any proof? No, I didn't think so. Trolls never do.

Posted by: GenT | Oct 12, 2010 3:32:50 PM

so exactly why were six NM counties not able to meet the requirments of the MOVE Act? Isn't part of the responsibilities of the Sec of State to supervise the county election bureaucracies?

Posted by: Paul Lindsey | Oct 16, 2010 12:58:46 PM