October 19, 2020

As expanded early voting starts, turnout flies past 265,000



Over 80,000 voters cast ballots on Friday or Saturday, either through early in-person or absentee voting, bringing the total number of votes cast to 266,522, far outpacing voting at the same time in 2016 according to numbers released by the Secretary of State on Monday morning.

The numbers represent the first day of expanded early voting, where county clerks opened more voting locations. As of Monday morning, 124,910 voters have cast ballots with early in-person voting and 141,612 voters have returned absentee ballots.

The expansion of early voting on Saturday contributed to the rise in early in-person voting, with 43,643 voters casting ballots in-person since the release on Friday morning. And voters who returned absentee ballots nearly matched that, with 39,608 returned ballots in the same time period.

Early in-person voting has exceeded the number in 2016, and absentee voting is nearly six times more than at the same time that year.

In 2016, as of the Monday after the opening of expanded voting, 138,391 voters had cast ballots, with 115,110 through early in-person votes and 23,281 voting through absentee ballots.

The number of absentee ballots is now nearly double what it was in 2016, when 76,476 voters returned absentee ballots. 

Twenty one counties have already exceeded the total number of returned absentee ballots cast in 2016, while just one county—Roosevelt—has exceeded the total number of in-person votes cast in 2016. In 2016, a record number of voters statewide cast early in-person ballots.

Three counties—Doña Ana, Luna and Otero—have already exceeded 2008’s total number of returned absentee ballots. Two counties—Eddy and Union—have exceeded 2008’s total number of early in-person votes.

In 2008, 172,136 voters cast votes by absentee ballot, still the record for the most absentee ballots in any New Mexico election.

Democrats continued to enjoy a large advantage among votes that have been cast so far, with 53.73 percent of all votes cast.

PartyEarly In-PersonAbsenteeTotalPercent of total
Decline to State13,43119,04332,47412.18%
From the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office, as of the morning of Oct. 19.

Republicans maintain an edge in early in-person votes over Democrats, though Democrats have returned nearly 65 percent of all absentee ballots. Democrats have requested 61.83 percent of all absentee ballots so far.

County clerks have received 371,159 absentee ballot requests this year, by far a record. Of those, 141,612 (38.15 percent) have already returned their ballots. In 2016, over 97 percent of those who requested absentee ballots returned them.

Tuesday is the final day for voters to request absentee ballots. All absentee ballots in New Mexico must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, which is Election Day. The Secretary of State’s office advises anyone who opts to mail back absentee ballots to do so by Oct. 27 to make sure they arrive in time. Absentee ballots can also be dropped off in-person at polling locations.

Bernalillo County has both the most votes cast by early in-person voting (18,994) and by absentee ballots (62,644), unsurprising since the county is by far the most populous in the state.

There were six other counties with 8,000 or more early in-person votes so far: Sandoval (11,192), Doña Ana (11,121), Eddy (9,712), Santa Fe (9,214), Chaves (8,417) and San Juan (8,188). 

Among absentee ballots, just three other counties had 5,000 or more returned absentee ballots: Santa Fe (15,046), Sandoval (14,320) and Doña Ana (12,921).

Counties that have sent out 10,000 or more ballots can begin processing absentee ballots tomorrow, while those who sent out less can start processing them four days ahead of the election. In addition to the above four counties, Valencia and San Juan counties have sent out 10,000 or more absentee ballots.

Eligible New Mexicans can still register to vote in-person until the end of early voting, on Oct. 31. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 1,674 have done so since Oct. 6, the close of online voter registration.