Trump v. Toulouse Oliver

No. 1:20-cv-01289 (D.N.M.) | Closed

The Trump Campaign filed suit against New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver,  New Mexico Electors, and the State Canvassing Board for violating the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution by taking non-legislative actions to change election rules and permit the casting and counting of ballots outside the restraints of state law.

In 2019, New Mexico amended its Election Code to add a fourth option for returning complete absentee ballots.  Beyond mailing them in, taking them to the county clerk’s office, or walking them into a polling place, the legislature approved a video-monitored “secured container” in which the videos would be retained as a record of the vote.  County clerks were also required to post details about these containers at least ninety days before a statewide election – which most failed to do.

There were a few attempts by County Clerks to establish secured containers after the ninety-day period had passed, but these were all rejected by the courts.  In response, Secretary Toulouse Oliver created another ballot-return option, the “dropbox.”  She tried to rationalize that the dropbox was not a secured container but an interpretation of the rule that allowed ballots to be returned to alternate voting locations.  However, these alternate locations all required ballots to be returned in-person, on election day, and to a presiding judge.  Why?  Because ballot harvesting is illegal in New Mexico and drop-boxes, with their inherent lax security standards, facilitate that practice by allowing people to drop off multiple ballots without any in-person confirmation of legality.

On December 14, the same day this complaint was filed, the Electoral College met and New Mexico submitted its vote for Joe Biden.  The Trump Campaign asked the Court to vacate the Electors’ certifications and remand to the New Mexico state legislature and deliver the lawfully obtained results to Congress by January 5.

On January 11, the Trump campaign voluntarily dismissed this complaint.


Case Details


Filing Date


Original Court

US District Court