RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - It was an election day mess on Feb. 5, 2008.
As Democratic voters went to the polls to pick between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the lines at Rio Rancho High School were simply unreal. The problem was a huge turnout for the hotly contested primary race.
That election wasn't run by Sandoval County, but come November it will be. And there's some concern of another set of problems in Rio Rancho.
It stems from the number of voting convenience centers, something designed to consolidate precincts, in the city. In Albuquerque, there are 56 of these centers to cover a population of more than half a million people.
Any county voter can vote there or in 13 other centers in Bernalillo County.
But in Rio Rancho, population closer to 90,000, there are a lot fewer options. On Nov. 6 there will be just five polling sites open around the city. That compares to five precinct sites in the neighboring--and much smaller--town of Bernalillo.
Average it out and there's one voting center per 9,900 people in Albuquerque and about one voting center per 17,900 people in Rio Rancho.
But Eddie Gutierrez, director of the Sandoval County Bureau of Elections, isn't worried. He says there are an appropriate number of voting centers for Rio Rancho and says county's emphasis on early and absentee voting should keep lines under control come Election Day.
Gutierrez says the primary served as a test run of the current set-up for the general election, and there were more than enough polling places to accommodate the turnout then.
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