ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – May 5 will be the first day of early voting for New Mexico’s primary elections. This year, things are going to look a lot different at the voting booth. Due to the coronavirus, Bernalillo County officials are encouraging people to vote absentee but if they do come to the polls, voters will go through a different experience.

“You’re going to see social distancing markers, you’re going to see some notices saying to please keep social distancing intact, you’re going to see our poll officials, our elected officials running the site to have personal protective equipment,” said Bernalillo County Deputy Clerk Jaime Diaz.

In Bernalillo County, they’re only opening the County Clerk’s annex for in-person early voting for the first couple of days and then open up 17 more locations in a couple of weeks.

Officials said people who are working the polls will be wearing personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves. Following the state’s public health orders, they are limiting how many people can be inside.

The voting stations will be separated for social distancing. Election workers will also be wiping down each voting station after a voter is done with it. Even though in-person voting starts on Tuesday, the County Clerk’s office is urging people to do their civic duty from home.

“Our major message from our office is vote absentee,” said Diaz. “If you have to or choose to, vote in person, please wear a mask and please be patient.”

Bernalillo County has received more than 40,000 absentee ballot requests for this primary election. In 2016, there were roughly 10,000 absentee votes in Bernalillo County for that primary election.

The county asks for people to wear a face mask if they decide to vote in person. There’s still time to request an absentee ballot for the primary election.