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Election results are still being finalized in many places – and fought over in others – but in New Mexico, longtime Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) election official Maggie Tolouse Oliver will be sworn in as New Mexico’s Secretary of State next week after winning a special election to finish out the last two years of the term. The Albuquerque Journal has more:
New Mexico’s newly elected secretary of state, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, will take office on Dec. 9, Secretary of State Brad Winter announced Wednesday.
Toulouse Oliver will be sworn in at 4 p.m. at the state Supreme Court and immediately assume the job, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
She will fill out the remaining two years of the term of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who resigned last year, pleaded guilty to misusing her campaign funds to underwrite a gambling habit, and was jailed for a month.
“Now begins the hard work of enacting important reforms that will strengthen transparency and accountability at all levels of government and ensure trust in our political process,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement.
She said during her campaign that she would push for creation of a statewide Ethics Commission and for funding to overhaul the state’s campaign finance reporting system.
A Democrat, Toulouse Oliver has been Bernalillo County clerk for a decade. She defeated Republican state Rep. Nora Espinoza of Roswell in the Nov. 8 general election.
While statewide officials typically are sworn in on Jan. 1 after their election, Toulouse Oliver can start early because she is filling an unexpired term.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Winter to fill in until a successor to Duran was elected. He has served nearly a year, and Martinez praised him for “the integrity and dedication he brought to the job every single day.”
The governor said Winter, a five-term Albuquerque city councilor, “oversaw the fair electoral process that New Mexicans expect and deserve.”
“I hope I made a positive difference during my short time,” said Winter, who cited accomplishments including online voter registration and expanded online services in the corporations bureau.
Duran, a former Otero County clerk and former state senator who was the first Republican elected to the office in 80 years, resigned in October 2015, midway through her second term.
After years of turmoil in the office, New Mexico has been fortunate to see the office stabilize in recent months. SoS Brad Winter has steered the office capably since Duran’s resignation, and SoS-elect Toulouse Oliver is a familiar face in the election community and an active partner in efforts to collect and use data to assess and improve election administration.
I look forward to seeing what SoS-elect Oliver can accomplish in Santa Fe; if the past is any indication there will be lots more evidence-based work to improve the voting experience in the Land of Enchantment. Congratulations to her and to the people of New Mexico … and stay tuned!