Voter turnout for the Nov. 8 general election could run as high as 70 percent in Lincoln County based on the number of early votes cast by mid-morning Thursday, County Clerk Rhonda Burrows said.
At that point, 1,335 people had voted early at the Horton complex on Service Road in Ruidoso and 443 at the county clerk’s office in the county courthouse in Carrizozo.
“We have issued 835 absentee ballots by mail and almost 595 have been returned,” Burrows said. “That’s a good return, especially this early.”
With the total number of registered voters at 13,950, the percentage figured at the end of the day Wednesday was about 19 percent turning up to early vote or to vote absentee, she said.
“We still have eight more days of early voting,” she said. “I think a lot of that is people are expecting a heavy turnout on election day. I haven’t ever seen it this high, but I would have to go back and look at the numbers for the first term when President Barack Obama was running. I think we had a pretty good turnout then.”
In the primary for Democrats and Republicans, only 1,051 people took advantage of early voting, she said.
“They are moving through really well at the early voting site (at the former middle school in Ruidoso),” Burrows said. “We added some equipment. I was there Saturday when it opened and then again on Tuesday, and was so impressed with how many people came in and thanked the poll workers for the work they were doing. I really appreciated that, because those people are working hard. They were tired.”
Burrows is confident the turnout will exceed 60 percent for the general election.
“I know it,” she said. “We had 58 percent for the last gubernatorial two years ago. I think it will be between a 65 percent to 70 percent turnout.”
Based on early voting only, not including absentee by mail, 1, 123 Republicans have cast ballots, 429 Democrats and 229 others. That reflects the registration by party that shows 3,298 Democrats, 7,683 Republicans, and 2,969 either decline to state or minority party registration.
Early voting will continue at the Horton Complex from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (closed Monday), ending on Nov. 5, and at the clerk’s office during regular working hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for the Saturday before the election, when the office will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Six vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on election day, where a registered county voter can cast a ballot no matter where he/she lives or in what precinct they are registered. Those centers are the Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Drive; the Ruidoso Downs Senior Center, 26337 U.S. 70; Corona Village Hall, 461 Main Street; the Lincoln County Courthouse, 300 Central Avenue, Carrizozo; Capitan Municipal Schools, 150 Forest Road; and the Hondo Valley Public Schools, 111 Don Pablo Lane.
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