November 2, 2020

Record absentee voting, near record early in-person voting push NM toward all-time high in turnout

New Mexico appears poised to break the state’s all-time turnout record on Election Day, with the continued record-breaking absentee turnout and early in-person voting which finished just hundreds of votes behind the previous record.

Overall turnout reached 770,596 as of Monday morning.

Overall turnout in 2020 was, as of Monday morning, at 95.84 percent of the total turnout in 2016—which included not only all early in-person voting and absentee ballots, but also Election Day voting. The turnout this year was at 92.47 percent of 2008’s total; that year still is the record number of voters in the state.

In all, 456,224 voters cast their ballots through early in-person votes, which ended on Saturday. These unofficial numbers were a little more than 500 votes behind 2016’s 456,762, the record for most early in-person votes in any New Mexico election.

As of Monday morning, 314,372 voters had returned absentee ballots, well above the previous record of 172,136 set in 2008. County clerks reported that voters had returned 81.47 percent of the 385,884 requested absentee ballots. There were still over 71,000 unreturned absentee ballots as of Monday morning.

Those who received absentee ballots have until Tuesday at 7 p.m. to return them. Voters can return them to their county clerk’s office or at voting sites on Tuesday. Only ballots that are returned by 7 p.m. will be valid.

Unlike some other states, this includes absentee ballots returned by mail. So election officials say anyone who has not returned an absentee ballot should not place them in the mail, as it likely will not arrive in time to be counted.

As of Monday morning, 48.79 percent of all votes were cast by Democrats, 34.74 percent by Republicans and 15.05 percent by Decline to State (or those not registered to any political party) voters.

PartyEarly In-PersonAbsenteeTotalPercent of Total
Decline to State67,13648,875116,01115.05%

Democrats continued their large advantage on absentee ballots, with 61.41 percent of all returned absentee ballots coming from Democratic voters to 21.74 percent from Republicans and 15.5 percent from Decline to State voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, finished early voting with a plurality of votes cast early in-person, with 43.7 percent, to 40.11 percent from Democrats and 14.72 percent from Decline to State voters.

Democrats represented 62.21 percent of the unreturned absentee ballots.

Three counties had already exceeded their 2016 turnout total as of Monday morning: Sandoval County (66,060, or 106.42 percent of 2016) Bernalillo County (280,661, or 101.45 percent of 2016) and Los Alamos (10,996, or 100.08 percent of 2016). 

Four other counties had over 95 percent of their 2016 turnout: Santa Fe (99.08 percent), Eddy (97.43 percent), Valencia (96.57 percent) and Grant (96.53 percent). 

Every county reached over 65 percent of their 2016 turnout, with only Hidalgo (66.39 percent) and Mora (69.81 percent) under 70 percent.

Voter registration closed as of the end of early voting, and overall turnout was just shy of 57 percent of registered voters through Monday morning statewide.

The highest turnout was for Los Alamos County, which traditionally has been at the top or near the top of turnout, with over 72 percent of voters casting ballots in the election, including over 80 percent of Democrats and over 68 percent of Republicans, both the high for those parties in any county.

The lowest turnout was in McKinley County, where just 38.2 percent of registered voters had cast ballots, though much of the voters in the county have typically voted on Election Day in past elections.

As of Monday morning, 63.35 percent of Republicans had cast ballots, compared to 61.48 percent of Democrats and 39.83 percent of Decline to State voters.