As of Wednesday morning, 381,995 people have cast ballots for the general election in New Mexico, including a record number of those who have returned absentee ballots. The new numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office showed that 187,971 voters had returned absentee ballots—the most ever in an election, breaking the record previously set in 2008 of 172,136. The 187,971 were 49.43 percent of the 380,280 voters who requested absentee ballots. Tuesday was the final day for voters to request absentee ballots. All absentee ballots in New Mexico must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov.
New Mexico voters continued to head to the polls and return absentee ballots early, as 322,880 voters had already cast their ballots as of Tuesday morning: 154,578 through early in-person voting and 71,939 through returning absentee ballots. The number of returned absentee ballots is now the second-most in state history, only behind the 172,136 absentee ballots returned in 2008, and is poised to break that year’s record total by tomorrow morning. As of Tuesday morning, 44.77 percent of all voters who requested absentee ballots have returned them. Today is the final day for voters to request absentee ballots.
For their absentee ballots to count, voters must return them by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Over 80,000 voters cast ballots on Friday or Saturday, either through early in-person or absentee voting, bringing the total number of votes cast to 266,522, far outpacing voting at the same time in 2016 according to numbers released by the Secretary of State on Monday morning. The numbers represent the first day of expanded early voting, where county clerks opened more voting locations. As of Monday morning, 124,910 voters have cast ballots with early in-person voting and 141,612 voters have returned absentee ballots. The expansion of early voting on Saturday contributed to the rise in early in-person voting, with 43,643 voters casting ballots in-person since the release on Friday morning. And voters who returned absentee ballots nearly matched that, with 39,608 returned ballots in the same time period.
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.
Over 183,000 New Mexicans have cast ballots as of Friday morning, according to numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office. This includes over 100,000 absentee ballots that have been returned to county clerks’ office. In all, 183,271 voters have either returned their absentee ballots or voted early in-person so far throughout the state. The number of absentee ballots returned to county clerks’ offices reached 102,004, and already exceeds the number of absentee ballots cast in the last two presidential elections (76,476 in 2016 and 88,848 in 2012). The record number of absentee ballots in a single election in New Mexico was set in 2008, with 172,136, a number set to be shattered this year.
Absentee and early in-person voting continues to exceed the pace of previous years, as 142,091 voters have already cast ballots as of Thursday morning. As of Thursday’s release from the Secretary of State’s office, the number of returned absentee ballots passed the total number of early in-person votes, with 72,302 voters returning absentee ballots and 69,789 voters casting their votes in-person at early voting locations. Early voting is still in its initial, limited phase with one location per county. Expanded early voting, when totals typically leap when clerks can open additional early voting locations throughout the county, will start this Saturday.
While NM Political Report does not have daily data from 2016’s elections until the expansion of early voting, this year’s voting has been much heavier than in that year.
In 2016, 68,945 voters cast ballots early before the expansion of voting, which fell on Oct. 22.
According to the latest numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office, 71,056 voters have cast ballots as of around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Of these, 46,169 have cast their ballots at early, in-person locations while 24,887 have returned their absentee ballots. The returned absentee ballots represent 7.03 percent of the 354,098 voters who have requested absentee ballots this year.
Bernalillo County has the most votes cast so far, thanks to a large number of returned absentee ballots; 17,109 voters in the county have returned absentee ballots, while 3,255 have voted in person. The 20,364 votes cast so far represent 28.66 percent of all votes cast so far. Two other counties have reported 1,000 or more returned absentee ballots so far: Sandoval County with 1,644 and Santa Fe County with 1,031.
Voters continue to head to the polls, with over 31,000 voters casting ballots since the beginning of early voting on Tuesday—including nearly 30,000 who have cast early ballots. Doña Ana County still has the most overall votes cast, with 3,034, followed by Eddy County at 2,926, Bernalillo County with 2,733 and Chaves County with 2,564. No other county has more than 2,500 votes cast yet. Eddy County actually had slightly more voters cast ballots in-person than Doña Ana County, 2,908 to 2,901. But 133 voters in Doña Ana County have returned absentee ballots, to just 18 in Eddy County.
Nearly as many voters cast ballots on the second day of general early voting on Wednesday as the first day per numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office—and when combining early in-person and returned absentee ballots, 19,945 New Mexicans have already voted in the general election. The three counties with the most early in-person votes are in southern New Mexico, which features one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the country. Doña Ana County still leads, with 1,929 votes cast, followed by Eddy County at 1,652, then Chaves County with 1,553.
New Mexico is still in its limited early in-person voting, with one voting location per county. The number of early in-person voting sites will expand on Oct. 17, and in years past, turnout has increased sharply after the expansion.
Through one day of early voting and the beginning of absentee voting, over 10,100 New Mexicans have cast ballots statewide. Of those, just under half are Democrats.
The numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office showed that 10,109 voters have cast ballots in New Mexico already. Of those, 8,816 cast ballots early in-person and 1,293 returned absentee ballots. In all, 328,913 voters have requested absentee ballots from their county clerks. While early voting opened in clerks’ offices in each county—or the Clerk’s Annex in Bernalillo County, expanded early voting will begin on Oct.