Chairs Maloney, Raskin Launch Investigation into Election “Audit” in Otero County, New Mexico

Chairs Call on DOJ to Review Potential Voter Intimidation Arising from Partisan Door-to-Door Canvass

March 17, 2022

Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2022)— Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter to V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., head of  EchoMail, Inc., requesting information regarding EchoMail’s participation in an “audit” of the 2020 election in Otero County, New Mexico.  The audit includes a door-to-door canvass of Otero County voters being conducted by volunteers from a conspiracist group whose leaders aim to “pinpoint” a “list of suspects” for “criminal prosecution.”  The canvass is already under way, and more than 60 Otero County residents have contacted state and local officials expressing concerns about interactions with the canvassers.

The Chairs also sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Kristen M. Clarke of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ) calling on DOJ to review potential ongoing civil rights violations arising from the canvass, including the risk of intimidation of minority voters, and take any necessary steps to prevent further violations of federal law. 

“The right to vote is protected by the Constitution and is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government,” the Chairs wrote to EchoMail.  “The Committee is investigating whether your company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters.”

EchoMail, which has a reported history of propagating election conspiracy theories, was contracted by Otero County to perform a “door-to-door canvass of Otero County voter registration database to determine accuracy of voter registration database.”  The contract and cover letter state that the canvass would not be conducted by EchoMail itself, but by “volunteers under the direction of New Mexico Audit Force (‘Volunteers’) with guidance from EchoMail.”

According to press reports, New Mexico Audit Force is a non-governmental group, loosely organized on the messaging platform Telegram, and led by “Big Lie” conspiracy theorists.  The group’s leaders have said the goal of the canvass is to “pinpoint at least a pretty small list of suspects and then hand it over for criminal prosecution from there,” and have stated:  “I want arrests, I want prosecutions, I want firing squads.”  Recently, dozens of Otero County residents began reporting canvassing visits from these volunteers.  In one instance recorded on video, the canvasser falsely claimed to be acting on behalf of the county.

“The Committee is deeply concerned that EchoMail’s actions could undermine the integrity of federal elections and violate Americans’ right to vote,” the Chairs wrote in the letter to EchoMail.  “Your company’s proven lack of knowledge about the details of election administration, your personal advocacy of election conspiracy theories, and your partnership with a conspiracist volunteer group to canvass voters raise serious concerns that your actions will damage election integrity in Otero County and beyond, including by intimidating voters in violation of federal law.”

The Chairs requested that EchoMail produce documents and information regarding the Otero County “audit” by March 31, 2022.

Click here to read the letter to EchoMail.

Click here to read the letter to DOJ.