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Early, absentee voting breaks New Mexico records

Voters enter the Doña Ana County Government Center in October to cast early ballots for the midterm election. New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District is geographically one of the largest in the country. (Angela Kocherga/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexicans cast early and absentee votes in record numbers ahead of Tuesday’s midterm election.

More than 430,000 people had already voted as of Saturday evening, when early in-person voting ended across the state, according to data released Sunday by the Secretary of State’s Office.

In a news release Sunday, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said early voting around the country produced record-breaking results this year, “and New Mexico is no exception.”

“A healthy democracy requires healthy voter participation and with over 430,000 New Mexicans having already voted this year, it’s clear that our democracy is alive and well,” she said.

That’s compared to 250,000 early and absentee votes in the 2014 midterm, and around 297,000 in the last open gubernatorial election in 2010.

According to Brian Sanderoff, president of Albuquerque-based Research & Polling Inc., this year’s totals represent a record-breaking early and absentee voting turnout for a non-presidential cycle.

“It demonstrates that there’s a great deal of enthusiasm and interest among New Mexico’s voters in this non-presidential election, which typically has lower turnout,” Sanderoff said.

And while Democrats showed more energy early on, members of both parties ultimately showed up at impressive and near-equal rates.

Sanderoff said 38.6 percent of registered Democrats and 38.3 percent of registered Republicans voted early.

Registered Democrats made up for just over half of the total 430,000 voters, registered Republicans just over a third. The remainder were unaffiliated or associated with a third party.

The early participation, Sanderoff said, is not necessarily a barometer for what’s to come on Tuesday.

“It could be that lots of people just wanted to vote prior to Election Day and we might just have moderate turnout on Election Day itself,” Sanderoff said.

Absentee ballots can be submitted until 7 p.m. Tuesday, and polls statewide will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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