Early voting underway

October 19, 2012 • Local News

New Mexico has ample time to make their vote count as early voting takes place this month.

Early voting began Oct. 9 and will end Nov. 3, the Saturday before the election. Deadline to request absentee ballots is Nov. 2; they must be returned by 7 p.m. on Nov 6.

New Mexico is one of several states throughout the country to open polls early. County Clerk Rhoda Coakley said [auth] that states could govern their own election dates as long as they have their general election on the same day and that New Mexico has always had absentee voting, but several years ago, early voting was introduced.

She said the office has been able to send out absentee ballots within 24 hours of them being requested. As of Thursday, 1,229 have applied for absentee ballots and 2,220 have voted so far. Coakley believes this number is higher than previous years and will continue to increase.

“I haven’t done any research on it yet, but I think it is [higher],” she said. “I think we’ll have record numbers of voters this year.”

One of the main factors in the large voter turnout is the gravity of this election, she said.

“It’s a very important election,” she said. “And I think both candidates have come out a lot more than usual. We have a couple of local races that are going to bring voters in.”

This is a large turnaround from the dismal turnout to the primaries earlier this year.

The early voting process is virtually hassle free.

“If they know their name and address, then they don’t have bring their I.D.,” Coakley joked.

Voters simply show up to the Chaves County Clerk’s office, 1 Saint Mary’s Place, and follow the signs to the designated voting area. Once there, voters must give the attendant there their name and address to sign in. They then sign a card with their information on it and receive a ballot to fill out. If a voter registered through the mail, they will have to show identifications to verify that they are the person who filled out the registration form.

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