Investigation: Secretary of State’s Office relying on emergency loans, grants

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As New Mexicans prepare to cast their votes this year, a newly released audit reveals that the Secretary of State’s Office never budgets enough money to pay for elections.

An investigation has found that the office has chronic budgetary shortfalls and has been relying on emergency loans and grants to cope.

The results came as part of an investigation by the State Auditor’s Office. It shows that for the past 10 years, the Secretary of State’s Office has “under-budgeted for elections which created the need for $25 million in emergency loans and grants.”

Those loans are said to cost taxpayers more than if the agency had the money in hand.

In those 10 years, Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, Mary Herrera and Dianna Duran have all led that office.

The audit also shows that on multiple occasions, the office used funds dedicated for publicly financed candidates to instead cover regulation expenses, leaving that candidate fund extremely low.

KRQE News 13 reached out to current Secretary of State, Brad Winter. His spokesperson says it’s a problem they may face again this November election.

They also say the legislature isn’t giving their office the money they’re asking for, and instead directing them to these loans and other funds to come up with the money.

The Secretary of State’s Office says despite all this shuffling of money, they’re still going to make sure that all elections run smoothly. They also say they’re making sure to give county clerks what they need for June’s primary election and the November general election.

The Secretary of State’s Office says they don’t believe these money issues have created any problems at the polls during past elections.

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