October 30, 2020

Voter turnout nears 700,000 as end of early voting nears

As the end of early voting in New Mexico neared, and just days before Election Day, 698,455 New Mexicans had cast their ballots as of Friday morning, including nearly 400,000 who have done so through early in-person ballots.

The turnout was 86.86 percent of the total turnout (including absentee, early in-person and Election Day voting) of 2016, and 83.81 percent of the turnout of 2008. The 2008 election had the highest turnout of any election in New Mexico history.

Even with record-breaking absentee ballot numbers, early in-person voting will once again be the most popular form of voting, as has been the case in every election since 2008.

As of Friday morning, 396,055 voters had cast their ballots through early in-person voting, while 302,400 voters returned absentee ballots out of 384,809 who requested them. In all, 78.58 percent of those who had requested absentee ballots have returned their ballots.

Voters who have not yet returned their absentee ballots should no longer put them in the mail, and should instead return the ballots in person, according to election officials. Any ballot sent in the mail may not arrive in time. Any absentee ballot that does not arrive by 7 p.m. on Election Day will not be valid in New Mexico.

Voters can return absentee ballots to their county clerks’ office or any polling location, including early voting locations and Election Day voting locations.

Early in-person voting ends on Saturday, Oct. 31, while Election Day voting will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Democratic voters had cast 49.47 percent of all ballots cast in New Mexico as of Friday morning, while Republicans had cast 34.67 percent and Decline to State voters, or those with no party affiliation, had returned 14.52 percent of ballots.

PartyEarly In-PersonAbsenteeTotalPercent of Total
Democratic158,958186,589345,54749.47%
Republican176,61465,533242,14734.67%
Decline to State54,98046,423101,40314.52%
Libertarian3,0221,9805,0020.72%
Other2,4811,8754,3560.62%
Total396,055302,400698,455n/a
Numbers from the New Mexico Secretary of State, as of the morning of Oct. 30.

The Democrats’ advantage on turnout as of Friday morning was from absentee ballots. Democrats had returned 61.7 percent of all absentee ballots, to 21.67 percent for Republicans and 15.35 percent for Decline To State voters.

Republicans maintained their advantage among early in-person voting, but Democrats actually cast more early in-person ballots between Thursday and Friday’s updates from the Secretary of State for the first time since the start of early in-person voting.

Republicans had cast 44.59 percent of all early in-person votes, to 40.14 percent for Democrats and 13.88 percent for Decline to State voters.

Over 36 percent of all ballots were from Bernalillo County, 255,601. The next-highest was 65,855 from Santa Fe County, followed by 60,283 from Doña Ana County and 60,00 from Sandoval County. The votes from these four counties represented over 63 percent of all votes in the report.

Sandoval County was the first county to exceed its voter turnout from 2008, and was at 96.66 percent of its turnout from 2016. Three other counties had exceeded 90 percent of 2016’s total so far: Bernalillo (92.39 percent), Santa Fe (91.56 percent) and Eddy (90.8 percent).

Two counties were under 60 percent of their turnout from 2016, Mora (58.29 percent) and Hidalgo (59.3 percent). Over half of voters have traditionally voted on Election Day in Mora County, while Harding County has also seen high Election Day totals.

Roosevelt is the lone county to have fewer returned absentee ballots returned in 2020 than in 2016 or 2012, though early in-person voting has more than made up for that gap and is the most in that county’s history so far.