SANTA FE – More than 240,000 New Mexico residents have already cast general election ballots by mail or at early voting centers, signaling robust interest and participation.
Early voting statistics from state election officials also show Democrats voting in disproportionately large numbers.
The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office said that 240,433 ballots were cast from the start of absentee voting on Oct. 11 through Thursday evening. Of those, 53 percent were cast by registered Democrats, and 35 percent were from Republicans. The rest were unaffiliated or linked to small parties.
Albuquerque-based pollster Brian Sanderoff said voters have been growing steadily more accustomed to casting ballots before Election Day at New Mexico’s voting convenience centers. Even considering that trend, early voting tallies suggest relatively high overall turnout, he said.
“The early voting is clearly robust,” he said. “Democrats are participating at higher levels than Republicans when taking into account the size of the two groups.”
Democrats account for 46 percent of registered voters in New Mexico. Republicans account for 31 percent.
Voter participation for New Mexico peaked in the 2008 general election at just over 833,000.
Sanderoff said that was an exceptional year. He estimated that voter turnout this year is likely to exceed levels in 2012, when about 787,000 New Mexico residents voted.
The presidential election is tearing at traditional partisan allegiances in New Mexico, where Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has refused to endorse Donald Trump. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is well-known in the state for his two terms as governor.
The entire state Legislature is up for re-election, with Republicans defending a House majority and Democrats in control of the Senate. Other prominent, contested election races include secretary of state and a seat on the state Supreme Court.