November 6, 2018

Lines last more than an hour at some NM voting locations

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Voters are reporting long lines in some areas of the state, including at Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque and at a polling in Anthony, New Mexico.

While some see long lines as a good sign that many people want to vote, Charles Stewart of the MIT Election Lab says it’s a sign that things aren’t working correctly.

“If you value the time of voters, inordinately long lines are not a good thing,” he told NM Political Report.

He cited a presidential commission that said if a voter is waiting for more than 30 minutes to vote “then it’s too long.”

“It’s getting to be a habit in New Mexico,” Stewart said.

Phil Nickel

A line to vote at Rio Grande High School.

Phil Nickel reported that the line at the high school was approximately 250 people when he arrived at 5:45 p.m. NM Political Report spoke to him at about 6:35, and he was still in line, waiting to vote.

Bernalillo County officials said they sent a printer vendor and additional toner to the site to correct the issue and sent additional poll officials to the voting convenience center to assist with lines.

Nickel said the a pollworker informed the crowd that there were only two printers working to print ballots; in Bernalillo County, voters can vote at any voting convenience center, so they print ballots on demand.

Nickel said it was his second time voting in a general election in New Mexico, and he had voted at another location in Albuquerque at lunchtime with no line in 2016. This time, however, when he arrived there are about 180 people in the hallway to the school’s gym and another 60 inside.

Nickel said no one had left the line that he saw.

Algernon D’Ammassa reported long lines in Anthony, New Mexico in Doña Ana County. He reported some voters waited more than an hour in line earlier in the day.

https://twitter.com/AlgernonActor/status/1059968765780099073

Some voters, D’Ammassa reported, left to find another voting location.

Doña Ana County is a key county in the 2nd Congressional District race, one considered among the closest in the nation, as Democrats hope to take control of the U.S. House.

This story was reported with a tip from ProPublica’s Electionland project, which monitors voting problems around the country. Tell us if you’ve had a problem voting here.

Update: Bernalillo County originally said they sent additional on-demand systems to Rio Grande High School, but later told NM Political Report did not. They did send more toner for the printers.