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Early and absentee voting opens in CD1 race

First Congressional District candidates, from top left: Melanie Stansbury, Aubrey Dunn, Mark Moores and Chris Manning. (Courtesy photos)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Early voting in a special election in central New Mexico begins today for a vacant seat in the tightly balanced U.S. House of Representatives.

County clerks can start to mail out requested absentee ballots, and voters in the 1st Congressional District can vote in person at the offices of the respective clerks or at alternative sites.

The district includes most of Bernalillo County, all of Torrance County, and parts of Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia counties.

Four people will appear on the ballot:

• State Rep. Melanie Stansbury is the Democratic candidate.

• State Sen. Mark Moores is the Republican candidate.

• Chris Manning, of Farmington, is the Libertarian candidate.

• Aubrey Dunn, a former state land commissioner, is an independent candidate.

In addition to the early voting sites opening today, additional early voting locations will open May 15 until early voting ends May 29. The last day to request an absentee ballot is May 18. Election Day is June 1.

The election will mark the first time that same-day voter registration will be allowed in a New Mexico election, said Sharon Pino, deputy secretary of state.

The seat became open when former Rep. Deb Haaland resigned after being confirmed as U.S. interior secretary.

The election presents an opportunity for Republicans to cut into a narrow Democratic margin of power in the House. There are currently 218 Democrats, 212 Republicans and five vacancies in the chamber.

But winning the seat is expected to be an uphill battle for the GOP. The district has about 217,000 registered Democrats, 132,000 Republicans, 5,000 Libertarians and 111,000 voters not affiliated with any party, according to voter registration data.

Pino said that many of the safety measures approved for the most recent general election will remain in place for the special election.

Registered voters within the district will be mailed a notice telling them of the date of the election and how to request a mailed ballot. Voters will be able to drop off those ballots at early voting or Election Day polling locations.

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