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Libertarians to seek write-in recount for gubernatorial slot

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Voters line up in Albuquerque to vote in the June 5 primary election. People reported waiting an hour or more to cast a ballot. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – The Libertarian Party plans to seek a recount after its write-in candidate for governor received 175 votes, falling short of the 230-vote threshold required to make the Nov. 6 ballot.

The State Canvassing Board certified the primary election results on Tuesday and approved two other recounts in close races – triggered automatically because the margin was within one percentage point.

Those recounts will begin this week. One centers on the District 5 Republican race for the Public Regulation Commission, where former PRC member Ben Hall had a 27-vote lead over Chris Mathys, a businessman. The winner will face Democrat Steve Fischmann.

The other recount will be in state House District 27, where Democrat William Pratt, a retired physician, had an 18-vote edge over Nicholas Harvey Martin. The winner will face incumbent Rep. Larry Larrañaga, R-Albuquerque.

As for the Libertarian Party, Blair Dunn, the party’s attorney general candidate, said the party will apply for a recount aimed at helping its gubernatorial candidate, Bob Walsh, and lieutenant governor candidate, Robin Dunn, secure enough votes to move on to the general election.

Blair Dunn said the recount will involve a hand tally, in which election workers have the flexibility to consider a voter’s intent. In other words, if a voter wrote in Walsh’s name but forgot to fill in the right bubble, that vote would count.

Walsh, an applied mathematician from Santa Fe, said that without a recount, “the people who voted for me in the primary would essentially be disenfranchised.”

State law requires write-in candidates in the primary to get a minimum number of votes to win their party’s nomination. In this case, Walsh and Dunn need at least 230 votes, or 2 percent of the Libertarians registered in New Mexico.

The Libertarian Party has six days to request a recount. It would have to pay for the cost of the recount, unless the party is successful and the candidates receive enough votes to make the ballot.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver participated in Tuesday’s canvassing board meeting.

Gov. Susana Martinez, also a member of the board, was absent. She was in Taiwan for meetings.

Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico’s chief elections officer, said turnout in the primary was 28 percent of eligible voters, compared with 20 percent in the 2014 primary.

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