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Canvassing Board approves recount for Libertarians

SANTA FE – A vote recount in eight New Mexico counties will begin next week to determine whether Libertarian candidates for governor and lieutenant governor got enough write-in votes to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The state Canvassing Board approved the recount on Thursday, but said it will go forward only if Libertarians have paid the estimated full $10,400 cost for the recount by July 11, when it’s scheduled to begin.

So far, the Libertarian Party has submitted an $8,500 check.

At issue is whether Libertarians Bob Walsh, a Santa Fe mathematician, and Robin Dunn, a Mountainair rancher, received enough write-in votes in the June primary election to qualify for the November ballot as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

The Libertarians are seeking the recount in only eight counties because about 80 percent of the votes cast statewide by Libertarians in the primary election were in those counties.

The three-member Canvassing Board said it did not have the authority under state law to order a different kind of recount – involving a tally of digital images of the ballots – in an additional seven counties.

Meanwhile, a key issue in the recount will be whether write-in votes are counted in which voters wrote in the candidate’s name, but did not fill in the adjacent bubble on the ballot. The vote-counting criteria will be determined by the Secretary of State’s office before the recount gets underway.

The Libertarian Party has major status in New Mexico this year – due to Gary Johnson’s performance in the 2016 presidential election – but its candidates will have to hit certain thresholds in order to maintain that status for the 2020 election cycle.

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