October 21, 2020

Voter turnout crosses 380,000, as NM hits record absentee turnout

As of Wednesday morning, 381,995 people have cast ballots for the general election in New Mexico, including a record number of those who have returned absentee ballots.

The new numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office showed that 187,971 voters had returned absentee ballots—the most ever in an election, breaking the record previously set in 2008 of 172,136.

The 187,971 were 49.43 percent of the 380,280 voters who requested absentee ballots. Tuesday was the final day for voters to request absentee ballots.

All absentee ballots in New Mexico must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, to be counted. To make the deadline, the Secretary of State urges anyone who will mail ballots to do so by Oct. 27. Voters can also drop off absentee ballots at voting locations.

Early in-person voting also remains heavy, with 194,024 voters casting their ballots at early voting locations throughout the state, including 39,446 of whom did so between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning.

Early voting runs until Oct. 31.

More voters have cast ballots this year through early in-person voting than did so at the same time period in 2016; with 13 days until Election Day in 2016, which fell on Oct. 26, 174,967 voters had cast early ballots in person, while this year, 194,024 voters have done so.

In 2016, New Mexico set an overall record for early votes, with 464,354.

Republicans have cast more early in-person votes than Democrats (90,846 to 78,802), but Democrats hold a large advantage in absentee ballots that have been returned (120,575 to 39,144) and in overall votes cast.

PartyEarly In-PersonAbsenteeTotalPercent of Total
Democratic78,802120,575199,37752.19%
Republican90,84639,144129,99034.03%
Decline to State22,24826,17626,17612.68%
Libertarian1,1311,0812,2120.58%
Other9979951,9920.52%
Total194,024187,971381,995n/a
Turnout in New Mexico, numbers released by the Secretary of State on the morning of Oct. 21, 2020.

The voter turnout is now 47.51 percent of the total votes cast in 2016 (between early in-person, absentee and Election Day voting) and 45.84 percent of the total turnout 2008, which was the state’s highest turnout election on record.

Voting has been particularly high in Eddy County, which is at 68.16 percent of 2016’s vote total, and Chaves County, which is at 60.9 percent of 2016’s vote total. No other county has reached the 60 percent mark.

Bernalillo County has over one-third of all votes cast so far this election, 129,622: 83,633 absentee ballots and 45,989 early in-person ballots.

The early-in person vote count in five other counties exceeded 10,000: Sandoval (18,113), Doña Ana (15,708), Santa Fe (14,006), San Juan (13,991) and Eddy (11,092).

Four counties have now had higher early in-person vote counts than in all of 2016: Roosevelt, Grant, Eddy and Chaves counties. Eddy, Chaves and Roosevelt counties are all Republican strongholds in southern New Mexico, while more Democrats have cast ballots—including early and absentee voters—in Grant County so far.

In addition to Bernalillo County, three other counties have had 10,000 or more absentee ballots returned: Doña Ana (17,752), Sandoval (17,718) and Santa Fe (16,741). 

Turnout has been heavier for absentee ballots so far in 2020 than it was in 2016 in 27 of New Mexico’s 33 counties.

Voters can still register to vote in-person at some voting locations, the list of which is available on the website of each county clerk.

Since Oct. 6, when online voter registration ended, 2,681 New Mexicans have registered to vote, 1,212 Republicans, 883 Democrats, 530 Decline to State, 38 minor party (or “other”) and 18 Libertarians.