Voter turnout in New Mexico is quickly approaching half a million, as 486,626 voters have already cast their ballots as of Friday morning, according to numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office.
This included 259,193 voters who have cast ballots via early in-person voting and 227,433 who returned absentee ballots.
While it’s unclear whether this is just regular voters shifting their voting forward, it appears New Mexico is headed toward record turnout this year.
The updated number of requested absentee ballots was not immediately available, but it appears the percent of returned absentee ballots is nearing 60 percent.
Voters must return absentee ballots by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 if their votes are 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 in-person voting, meanwhile, continues through Oct. 31.
While absentee voting has already far exceeded the previous record, and is likely to more-than double the previous record of 172,136 with days to spare before Election Day, early voting also remains ahead of the pace in 2016, when more voters cast ballots by early in-person voting than in any other election.
On the equivalent Friday that year, 11 days until Election Day, 237,108 voters had cast ballots early in-person—and over 22,000 more voters have done so this year. In 2016, 456,762 voters cast their ballots early-in person.
New Mexico’s turnout as of Friday morning was 60.52 percent of the total turnout in 2016—which included early in-person, absentee and Election Day voting—and 59.39 percent of the 2008 turnout, which was the highest in state history.
Democrats have still cast a majority of the ballots so far, but the percentage is slowly dropping, as has happened in past election years.
|Party||Early In-Person||Absentee||Total||Percent of Total|
|Decline to State||31,557||82,492||63,949||13.14%|
As has been the case for most of the early voting process, Republicans have cast a plurality of early in-person ballots, 45.98 percent of all ballots cast in person so far. Democrats have cast 40.68 percent of early in-person ballots.
But Democrats still maintained a massive advantage on returned absentee ballots; Democrats have returned 63.54 percent of all absentee ballots, compared to 21.08 percent of absentee ballots returned by Republicans.
Democrats still have more than 90,000 unreturned absentee ballots, while Republicans have about 13,500 absentee ballots waiting to be returned.
In 2016, over 97 percent of all voters who requested absentee ballots returned them by the close of polls on Election Day.
Bernalillo County is approaching 100,000 returned absentee ballots (98,807) and has had 70,745 voters cast early in-person ballots. Both are by far the most of any county in the state so far.
The other counties with larger populations have pushed to the front of total votes cast, with Sandoval (44,283), Santa Fe (44,234), Doña Ana (41,741) all crossing 40,000 votes cast.
Eddy County continues to have the highest turnout when compared to 2016, and is already at 74.17 percent of the total votes cast in 2017. Other counties with at least 65 percent of the 2016 turnout already are: Sandoval (71.34 percent); Grant (69 percent); Chaves (67.95 percent); Sierra (65.08 percent); and Roosevelt (65.02 percent).
On the other end of the spectrum, Mora County is at just 35.57 percent of its 2016 turnout, and McKinley is at just 39.87 percent. Both counties have traditionally had more voters turn out on Election Day than the state at large.