November 8, 2016

Common Cause: Few problems reported at the polls



As in past years, Common Cause New Mexico is running an election protection hotline for voters and others to report problems at polling locations throughout the state.

So far, according to Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director Viki Harrison, the reports have been “typical” problems that they have seen in past years.

For example, some polling locations told voters they needed photo ID to vote. But a call to the county clerks in charge straightened out that problem.

Some others were concerned about anti-abortion trucks “rolling through Corrales this morning.” The next stop for the trucks may be Los Lunas around midday.

“They can do that as long as they’re 100 feet away from polling locations and not trying to prevent anyone from getting to the polls,” Harrison told NM Political Report.

In another case an “older white guy” was yelling about illegal immigrants outside a polling location in Bernalillo County. The presiding judge asked the man to leave.

But the focus will be on Chaparral, specifically the part of the community that’s in Otero County. In past elections, there have been extremely long lines in the predominantly-Hispanic community.

Yesterday, reported additional resources, including pollworkers and extra voting booths, were sent to Chaparral.

Harrison told NM Political Report Common Cause New Mexico worked with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General to make sure there were extra ballots and booths available at the location.

In light of some problems seen at the Chaparral voting location, some asked for a uniformed police officer to be present.

Harrison said the presence of  a uniformed police officer could be seen as a form of intimidation by some voters.

“I don’t think it was malicious,” she said, but said she was in contact with the Attorney General’s office over the officer’s presence.

Harrison said she was excited that Rio Rancho seems to have turned things around after extremely long lines in 2012.

In 2012, there were just five polling locations for one of the state’s largest cities. This year, there are 19 voting convenience centers listed on the Sandoval County clerk’s website.

NM Political Report will check in with Common Cause New Mexico throughout the day.