With Election Day in sight, NM absentee ballot planning underway - Albuquerque Journal

With Election Day in sight, NM absentee ballot planning underway

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico county clerks in 10 counties – including Bernalillo, Sandoval, Doña Ana and Santa Fe – have notified the Secretary of State’s Office they intend to start sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in their counties next month.

Voting by mail will likely play a key role in the November general election due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and county clerks can decide whether to send absentee ballot applications to voters under a special session bill signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in June.

They are not required to do so, however, and five county clerks – in Rio Arriba, McKinley, Mora, Luna and Hidalgo counties – have told Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s office they do not plan to send out the applications, which have to be submitted by voters for an absentee ballot to be mailed to them.

The remaining 18 county clerks had not yet responded to the Secretary of State’s Office about their plans as of last week.

Some of those clerks could still decide to send out the applications, Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Alex Curtas said.

He also said county clerks who do send out absentee ballot applications can begin doing so Sept. 14, though the first day the absentee ballots can be sent to voters is Oct. 6.

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, who co-sponsored the bill that makes temporary changes to this year’s general election, said some New Mexico voters ended up frustrated after their primary election ballots ended up being delivered to county clerks too late to be counted.

“If we can front-load some of this administrative stuff that helps get people a ballot, then we should do that,” Ivey-Soto said Tuesday.

Absentee voting rates skyrocketed during the June primary, after top-ranking state Democrats urged voters to mail in their ballots to reduce person-to-person contact during the pandemic.

In all, a record 264,793 New Mexico voters used the method to cast their ballots – or about 63.4% of all votes cast.

Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda López Askin said voters have already been asking about absentee voting options for the Nov. 3 election.

“We just want to give voters the most options to cast their ballots,” López Askin told the Journal.

She also cited a change in the special session elections bill that will move the application deadline for requesting an absentee ballot to 10 days before Election Day, instead of five days, in an attempt to reduce the number of ballots that are returned too late to be counted.

While most absentee ballots are returned by mail, they can also be hand-delivered to county clerks’ offices and polling places starting Oct. 6.

Curtas also said the Secretary of State’s Office will be launching a pilot program of absentee ballot drop boxes for the general election but said the exact locations of those drop boxes has not been determined.

Meanwhile, he also said absentee ballot applications sent out by a third-party group, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit group called Center for Voter Information, are legitimate.

“They are using an acceptable form that voters in New Mexico can submit to their county clerks and get an absentee ballot,” Curtas said.

The group faced criticism after reportedly sending out more than 500,000 absentee ballot applications to Virginia voters with erroneous return addresses.

In New Mexico, the group has sent out absentee applications to nearly one-third of the state’s registered voters – 399,733 out of roughly 1.3 million – and about 30,000 of those voters have submitted the applications to their county clerks.

Statewide registered voters will also be able to request absentee ballots on the secretary of state’s website, Curtas said, but county clerks will send only one ballot per registered voter regardless of how many applications are submitted.

Home » Politics » Election » With Election Day in sight, NM absentee ballot planning underway


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Ethics board advances complaint against county commissioner
ABQnews Seeker
Commissioner denies that she did anything ... Commissioner denies that she did anything wrong
2
NM election results certified by board
2022 election
Supreme Court sets oral arguments on ... Supreme Court sets oral arguments on redistricting challenge for Jan. 9
3
Bernalillo County certifies midterm election results
2022 election
All counties have now sent totals ... All counties have now sent totals for Nov. 29 canvass
4
New Mexico begins certification process for midterm elections
2022 election
Process has become a focal point ... Process has become a focal point for those voicing distrust in voting systems
5
NM GOP officials face intraparty strife after latest election ...
2022 election
Some Republicans have called on state ... Some Republicans have called on state chairman Steve Pearce to resign
6
Redrawn CD2 riles Republicans after defeat
2022 election
Rep. Herrell said Dems engineered her ... Rep. Herrell said Dems engineered her ouster
7
BernCo official's conduct challenged
2022 election
Citizen's complaint alleges inappropriate campaign contribution Citizen's complaint alleges inappropriate campaign contribution
8
Vasquez declares victory in CD2 race
2022 election
Herrell concedes and blames Democratic gerrymandering Herrell concedes and blames Democratic gerrymandering
9
NM voter turnout hit 52% for midterm election
2022 election
711,000 votes cast this year would ... 711,000 votes cast this year would eclipse 2018 in raw votes, but fall short of the 56% turnout four years ago