And so far, Democrats are leading in numbers.
More than 53 percent of the early vote and absentee ballots have been cast by Democrats, although the party represents 46 percent of Bernalillo County’s registered voters. Setting aside absentee ballots, Democrats’ share of the early vote increases to nearly 56 percent of the vote so far.
Political analyst Brian Sanderoff said that early Democratic advantage in the county’s ballot totals is a sign of excitement among the party’s base.
“It’s a function of enthusiasm and organization, and it’s interesting. It’s encouraging for the Democrats,” Sanderoff said.
Sanderoff noted that the trend of Democratic turnout resembles the vote in 2008, when Bernalillo County early voters favored President Barack Obama by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Early voting in New Mexico started Oct. 9, although participation was limited to each county clerk’s office. Early voting spiked Saturday when the state opened dozens of voting centers and gave voters a more convenient alternative.
Through midday Monday, more than 29,000 ballots had been cast in Bernalillo County, about 19,000 of which were from early voting, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said.
During the 2008 election, a year of record turnout, nearly 287,000 total ballots were cast in Bernalillo County.
In Santa Fe County, the early voting turnout through Monday was even higher.
More than 12,000 early ballots were cast through Monday, said Denise Lamb, the Santa Fe deputy county clerk. That represents about 17 percent of the county’s total vote in 2008.
More than 68 percent of those ballots were cast by Democrats, who account for 62 percent of the county’s total voter rolls.
“Santa Fe is a real early voting county,” Lamb said. “Four years ago, we had a little over 50 percent of our voters voted early.”
In Sandoval County, more than 8,000 ballots were cast through Monday, said Sandoval County Bureau of Elections Director Eddie Gutierrez. That total represents nearly 14 percent of the county’s total turnout during the 2008 presidential election.
Sandoval County has not tallied its ballots by party affiliation, Gutierrez said.
— This article appeared on page A4 of the Albuquerque Journal