Secretary of State talks about what to expect on election night

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse said she’s hopeful the state will see most of the results from absentee ballots posted on election night, despite the huge surge in absentee ballots requested this year. 

New Mexico, unlike some other states, has laws in place to allow counties to begin tabulating absentee ballots days before the election. Counties that sent out more than 10,000 absentee ballots began processing those ballots on Oct. 24. Counties that sent out less than 10,000 absentee ballots can begin processing those ballots starting today.  

“We are well underway now across the state with the processing of absentee ballots,” Toulouse Oliver said. “What we’re all hopeful for is that beginning this process as early as possible will enable the County Clerks and their absentee precinct boards to get through the vast majority of those mailed ballots before election night, and those boards are going to continue working to process everything that they have up through Election Day.”

RELATED: Secretary of State, Speaker of the House address voting concerns: ‘It is safe to vote in person’

While absentee ballots can be tabulated in advance, she added, no results can be produced or revealed publicly prior to the close of polls, which is 7 p.m. on election night.

Senate Democratic SuperPAC buys $100,000 in ads for Ben Ray Luján

The Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC for Senate Democrats, has reportedly (TK) bought $100,000 in TV ads in support of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s bid for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

The ads will begin airing Tuesday, October 27. Former TV meteorologist and Republican Mark Ronchetti is running against Luján for the Senate seat, which is currently held by Democrat Tom Udall. Democrats have held both U.S. Senate seats in New Mexico since Udall won the seat in 2008, replacing Pete Domenici, a Republican who retired citing health reasons after a long stint in the Senate. Jeff Glassburner, campaign manager for Ronchetti, described the ad buy as “an attempt to save Ben Ray Luján’s faltering campaign.”

“It’s a strong statement that national Democrats feel the need to try to rescue Ben Ray Luján in the final week of the election. It’s no surprise that the DC Super PAC is trying to bail out the DC-first candidate,” Glassburner said in a statement. 

The spending is a tiny fraction of the $235 million that Senate Majority PAC has spent so far this year across the country.

Errors in absentee ballots sent to Taos, San Juan County

Thousands of absentee ballots sent to voters in two counties contained errors on them that could impact those votes being counted. The errors were first reported by Taos News, after residents in Taos reported receiving their returned ballots and social media posts about the issue began circulating online. 

Alex Curtas, communications director for the New Mexico Secretary of State, confirmed to the Taos News that ballots sent to residents in Taos County and San Juan County contained errors in a barcode printed on the outer envelope of the ballot that route the ballot back to the voter, rather than to the respective county clerks’ offices. 

“The USPS is aware of this issue and has put a procedure in place to ensure all ballots are delivered to the county clerk,” Curtas told Taos News. “Voters who may have been affected by this issue should use NMVOTE.ORG to track their ballot or call their county clerk’s office to confirm receipt of their ballot. Voters should also be aware that they can drop their absentee ballot off at any polling location in their county.”

The error is printed on absentee ballots sent to 4,000 Taos County voters and 6,500 San Juan County voters, according to Curtas. Over 6,200 voters in Taos County and 10,000 voters in San Juan County have requested absentee ballots as of Friday morning.

2020 Elections: U.S. House candidates on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. First Congressional District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland is running for reelection against Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes. Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez.

Candidate Q&A: Deb Haaland on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s congressional candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Deb Haaland, who is running for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives for the state’s first congressional district. Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, was one of the first two indigenous women to be elected to Congress when she won her election in 2018. Prior to that, Haaland served as chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 2015 to 2017. In 2014, Haaland ran for Lieutenant Governor on former state Attorney General Gary King’s gubernatorial ticket, but ultimately lost to Republican Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez. Haaland also served on then-president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as New Mexico’s vote director for Native Americans. 

New Mexico’s First Congressional District covers parts of Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Valencia and Torrance counties.

Candidate Q&A: Teresa Leger Fernandez on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

Leger Fernandez runs the Santa Fe-based social impact law firm Leger Law and Strategy. She was appointed as vice chair to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation under President Barack Obama’s administration. She was also appointed as a White House Fellow by President Bill Clinton.

Candidate Q&A: Alexis Johnson on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Alexis Johnson, a Republican who is running for New Mexico’s Third Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

Johnson is an environmental engineer and rancher. She worked at the Midland, Texas-based environmental consulting firm Larson & Associates. Johnson is running against Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez.

Candidate Q&A: Steve Jones on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

You can find all our congressional candidate interviews here. 

The following interview is with Steve Jones, who is running for New Mexico’s Second Congressional District seat to the U.S. House of Representatives as an Independent and a write-in candidate.  

Jones is a retired energy executive, and has experience as a business consultant and TV producer. 

Jones is facing Democratic incumbent Xochitl Torres Small and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell for the seat. Herrell did not respond to requests for an interview. Torres Small scheduled an interview with NM Political Report twice for this Q&A but had to cancel both times due to schedule conflicts related to the House of Representatives’ voting schedule. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States? Steve Jones: The fact is we are using a technology which is controversial and has simultaneously increased our exports to where we’re self-sufficient energy wise, and at the same time, excited a whole lot of people who would rather not have as much energy. My expectation is, depending on the outcome of the election, we will either have a restriction on hydrocarbon production or we will have business as usual.

Candidate Q&A: Bob Walsh on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

The following interview is with Libertarian Bob Walsh, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Udall announced in March of 2019 that he would not run for reelection. 

Walsh is a retired scientist with degrees in physics, mathematics and biology. Walsh was a legislative assistant to former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, and was an Assistant Democratic Party Ward Coordinator in 2005-2006. 

Walsh is running against former TV meteorologist and political newcomer Mark Ronchetti, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Ronchetti did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. You can read our Q&A with Luján here. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States?

Candidate Q&A: Ben Ray Luján on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

The following interview is with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Udall announced in March of 2019 that he would not run for reelection.  

Luján, a Democrat, has served as U.S. Rep. for New Mexico’s third congressional district since 2009. In 2019, he was voted  Assistant Speaker of the House by the House Democratic caucus. 

Luján also served on the state’s Public Regulation Commission from 2005-2008 and served as chairman of the commission from 2005 to 2007. 

Luján is running against former TV meteorologist and political newcomer Mark Ronchetti, a Republican, and Bob Walsh, a Libertarian. Ronchetti did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. You can read our Q&A with Walsh here. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States?