Evidence shows EchoMail involvement in Otero County ‘audit’ canvassing, congressional panel says

By: - March 31, 2022 4:15 am

Erin and David Clements (bottom left) urged the Otero County Commission in January to hire EchoMail to conduct the election “audit.” (Courtesy of Otero County)

A congressional committee is accusing the head of a tech company of lying about his involvement in the so-called “audit” of the 2020 election results in Otero County.

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the rise of partisan audits of the 2020 election that representatives say “threaten to undermine the integrity of our election critical infrastructure and perpetuate misinformation about election results.” 

Congressional oversight panel to investigate ‘vigilante’ audit in Otero County

The committee on March 16 called for V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, president and CEO of EchoMail, Inc. to hand over records related to his company’s involvement in the canvassing of Otero County voters.

Investigators gave him a deadline of today, March 31, to turn over the information.

Rather than hand over any of the records, two days later he denied his company’s involvement, and said he is not involved with New Mexico Audit Force, the group carrying out the canvassing that the lawmakers describe as conspiracist.

“EchoMail is not associated in any way with any alleged actions by NMAF – and certainly not a contractual relationship. EchoMail has no oversight of NMAF, and provides no guidance to NMAF,” Ayyadurai wrote.

His company has no canvassers in Otero County or anywhere else, he added, and has not contracted for canvassing.

“EchoMail is not conducting any audit in Otero County,” he wrote.

On Wednesday, Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chairman Jamie Raskin wrote to Ayyadurai to tell him that they have evidence “contradicting your denial.”

As part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation, we have obtained evidence contradicting your denial, and we are deeply concerned that your company’s actions in Otero County, and those of your associates, may lead to voter intimidation in violation of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act.

– Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Jamie Raskin

The lawmakers wrote they are concerned that the company’s actions “may lead to voter intimidation” in violation of federal law. They wrote that his denial is disproved by documents given to state and local governments in New Mexico.

Erin Clements, a leader of New Mexico Audit Force, asked the Otero County Clerk’s Office and the state for voter information, and in her request “stated that she was representing EchoMail,” according to the lawmakers’ letter.

On Jan. 6, Ayyadurai appeared with Clements’ husband David on a podcast to talk about the “election integrity movement” and election audit and canvassing procedures.

A week later, Erin and David Clements urged the Otero County Commission to hire EchoMail to conduct the election “audit.”

On five occasions in January and March, New Mexico Audit Force described Ayyadurai and EchoMail as in charge of the audit, the congressional letter states. The committee also found David Clements post on his personal Telegram account that he was speaking with Ayyadurai about the audit.

“The Committee intends to get to the bottom of this so-called audit and canvass and the threats they pose to free and fair elections,” the lawmakers wrote. “The significant discrepancies between your claims and the multiple filings and statements by NMAF … reinforce the committee’s need for the documents we requested.”

EchoMail is also tied to the discredited election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona.

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.