October 22, 2020

Voter turnout at 440,000 as voting shows no sign of slowing

The turnout in New Mexico continues to surge, reaching 440,001 voters as of Thursday morning, 12 days before election day. 

New Mexico has not only shattered the absentee voting record set in 2008, according to the numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office, but continues to exceed the early in-person vote total set in 2016—which was the year with the most early in-person votes in the state.

As of Thursday morning, 228,653 voters had cast early in-person ballots, while 211,348 voters had returned absentee ballots. There are still plenty of absentee ballots waiting to be sent back or returned—the 211,348 ballots represent 55.41 percent of the 381,430 ballots requested by voters.

Tuesday was the final day for voters to request absentee ballots, and the Secretary of State advises absentee voters to either mail them back by Oct. 27, to assure they arrive on time, or return their absentee ballots at a polling location.

All absentee ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 to be counted. This includes ballots sent by mail. Unlike some other states, New Mexico does not count any absentee ballots that are returned after Election Day, even if those were postmarked before the close of polls.

Early voting, meanwhile, continues through Oct. 31. 

The 228,653 early voters reported on the morning 12 days ahead of Election Day was ahead of the pace set in 2016, when the Secretary of State’s office reported 207,214 early votes at the same time.

In 2016, New Mexico had a record early vote turnout: nearly 465,000 early ballots were cast.

New Mexico’s turnout on Thursday morning stood at 54.72 percent of the 2016 vote total (including absentee, early in-person and Election Day voting) and at 52.8 percent of the 2008 vote total, which is the current highest turnout for any election in state history.

Democrats have cast over half of all votes so far this year, 51.86 percent as of Thursday morning.

PartyEarly In-PersonAbsenteeTotalPercent of Total
Decline to State27,08929,83056,91912.94%
Turnout in New Mexico as of the morning of Oct. 22, according to numbers provided by the Secretary of State.

Republicans continued to have the most early-in person voters, with 46.31 percent of all voters who have voted at early voting sites compared to Democrats’ 40.72 percent.

But Democrats maintained a commanding lead among absentee voters, with 63.9 percent of all returned absentee ballots, compared to 29.03 percent who are Republicans.

There were still 170,082 absentee ballots left to be returned: 99,833 for Democrats, 17,302 for Republicans, 51,496 for Decline to State/minor party voters and 1,451 for Libertarians. Absentee ballot requests for Decline to State and minor parties are combined in the releases provided daily by the Secretary of State’s office, though turnout is separated.

Bernalillo County remained the county with by far the highest overall turnout, leading with both absentee (91,912) and early in-person votes (58,772). Bernalillo County is by far the most populous county in the state.

The six other counties with 10,000 or more early in-person votes were: Sandoval (20,635), Doña Ana (18,841), Santa Fe (17,359), San Juan (16,429), Eddy (11,585) and Chaves (10,532) counties. Three of these—Doña Ana, Eddy and Chaves—are in the hotly contested 2nd Congressional District. 

Among returned absentee ballots, Santa Fe (22,650), Sandoval (19,847) and Doña Ana (19,016) were the only other counties with more than 10,000 returned absentee ballots. 

The surging absentee ballot count is taking place in most of the state; only five counties had not already exceeded the 2016 total number of absentee ballots. And of those, four—Roosevelt, Grant, Chaves and McKinley counties—had already exceeded 2016’s total early in-person vote total. Eddy County also had already exceed 2016’s early vote total.

Eddy County also led the state in turnout when compared to 2016, with turnout already at 71.28 percent of the turnout of 2016’s total votes cast. Six other counties also had over 60 percent of 2016’s turnout.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mora stood at just 31.41 percent of 2016 turnout; McKinley and Hidalgo County were also under 40 percent. All three counties have had high Election Day voting in recent elections.

While most voter registration ended on Oct. 6, New Mexicans can still register to vote at some in-person voting locations. Since Oct. 6, 3,249 New Mexicans have registered to vote, 1,444 Republicans, 1,106 Democrats, 629 Decline to State voters, 26 minor party voters and 24 Libertarians.