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Democratic Party launches hotline on voting procedures

SANTA FE – The Democratic Party of New Mexico hopes to broaden participation in the Nov. 3 election as it launches a daytime telephone hotline and online resources about balloting.

State Democratic Party Executive Director Chelsey Evans said the initiative, which began Monday, aims to inform voters about new options and deadlines for requesting and casting absentee ballots.

The coronavirus pandemic has already reshaped voting in New Mexico, with absentee voting by mail or drop-off delivery soaring in popularity during the June primary. Temporary election reforms adopted in June by the Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have altered ballot request deadlines, added a new signature requirement and provided for ballot tracking by postal bar codes.

Evans said the voter education project sponsored by Democrats will publicize such key deadlines as Oct. 20, the last date when absentee ballot requests can be received by county clerks. Hotline operators won’t ask callers about party affiliation and are available to help anyone with voting questions, she said.

The hotline, 1-833-NM4-DEMS, is available in English and Spanish.

Prominent Democratic officials are concerned that President Donald Trump may be trying to undermine the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the election. Evans said voters can limit the impact of mail delays by requesting an absentee ballot online, and then using drop-boxes or going to election offices directly to turn them in.

“We see a lot of enthusiasm and we want to make sure that that enthusiasm is captured and that people can access the ballot,” she said.

The party has scrapped door-to-door canvassing operations in response to COVID-19, and is focusing more resources on providing answers about voting procedures via telephone and online.

Registered New Mexico voters can request an absentee ballot for any reason. Ballots can be turned in from Oct. 6 through Election Day.