FAQ: Casting a vote in New Mexico for 2020 General Election

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This post will continue to be updated as more information is released

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s 2020 general election will look a little different. Voters can still go to the polls on Election Day, but many may want to vote by absentee ballot this year. The General Election is on November 3, 2020.

FAQ Topics

  • Important Dates
  • What You Need to Know About Absentee/Mail-in Voting
  • Early Voting
  • Voting In-Person
  • General Questions Regarding Voting in New Mexico
  • Protecting Your Vote
  • Victim Reporting

Have a specific “voting plan” to overcome voting obstacles due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Important Dates

  • Absentee ballot requests can now be made online through the Secretary of State’s website. October 20, 2020 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot.
  • September 14 – New Mexico clerk’s offices may begin to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters
  • October 6
    • Absentee Voting Begins
    • Early Voting and Same Day Registration at Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex begins
  • October 20 – Deadline for clerks to receive a mailed absentee ballot application
  • October 27 –  Recommended final day for voter to mail absentee ballot
  • November 3 – Election Day and absentee ballots due

What You Need to Know About Absentee/Mail-in Voting

Q: When can I request an absentee ballot?

A: The online portal to request an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election is not yet open. However, you can now download an Absentee Ballot Application from online, then mail it or hand-deliver it to your County Clerk’s Office.

Q: How do I request my absentee ballot?

A: Request an absentee ballot by filling out an application and returning it to your local County Clerk. Applications can be obtained by:

Q: What is the deadline to request an absentee ballot?

A: Voters can request an absentee ballot for the 2020 General Election from their county clerk or online through Tuesday, October 20, 2020. However, requests must be made no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

Q: When does an absentee ballot have to be returned for it to be counted?

A: Ballots must be returned to the county clerk or voter’s precinct by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. The Bernalillo County Clerk’s office recommends that absentee ballots not be mailed after October 27, 2020. 

Q: Can I drop off my absentee ballot at a designated location?

A: Yes. Completed absentee ballots may be delivered to the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex from October 6-16 or to any of the 20 Early Voting Convenience Centers open from October 17-31. For more details, go to your Voter Information Portal.

Q: Can I drop off my absentee ballot at a voting location on election day, November 3rd? 

A: Yes. Completed absentee ballots may be delivered to any of the 72 Election Day Voting Convenience Centers open November 3, 2020 from 7 a.m. to p.m. The locations of the Election Day Voting Convenience Centers have not been released yet.

Q: If I am unable to mail my absentee ballot, who is allowed to drop it off and where?

A: A member of your immediate family or your caregiver may hand-deliver your absentee ballot; provided that the voter has subscribed the official mailing envelope of the absentee ballot. An unrelated third party may not deliver another voter’s absentee ballot.

The ballot can be dropped off a county clerks office.

Q: What if I don’t receive my absentee ballot?

A: If you apply for, but do not receive the absentee ballot, you may apply for a replacement absentee ballot by communicating with the county clerk and requesting a replacement mailed ballot be delivered to the voter; and executes an affidavit and the county clerk has voided the mailed ballot previously issued to the voter. (Section 1-6-16 (B), NMSA 1978).

You may also go to your polling place and vote on a replacement absentee ballot on Election Day, after signing an affidavit of non-receipt of absentee ballot (Section 1-6-16.1(A), NMSA 1978).

In both cases, you will be required to sign a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that you did not receive your ballot.

Q: Is there a way to check the status of my absentee application?

A: Yes. To check the status of your absentee application, contact your county clerk’s office or visit the Absentee Tracker website.

Q: How much does it cost to mail my absentee ballot?

A: Return postage is pre-paid. Please ensure you return the ballot with enough time for it to arrive at your County Clerk’s office before 7 pm on Election Day, November 3, 2020.  For more details, log on to the Voter Information Portal.  ​​

Q: If I receive my absentee ballot, can I change my mind and vote at my polling place on Election Day?

A: Yes. You just need to sign an affidavit at the polling place basically cancelling the absentee ballot.

Q: How do I correctly write-in a candidate on my ballot?

A: When casting the write-in vote, fill in the oval and write the name of the declared write-in candidate. Unless both of these requirements are fulfilled, the vote will not be counted.

Q: Who is eligible for absentee voting?

A: Anyone can cast an absentee ballot. No excuse is required to vote with an absentee ballot. For more details, go to your Voter Information Portal.

Q: Who is eligible to vote by mail?

A: Anyone can vote by mail for the 2020 General Election. For more details, go to your Voter Information Portal.

Early Voting

Q: When does early voting begin?

A: Early voting locations open in each county beginning on Saturday, October 17, 2020 and continue through Saturday, October 31, 2020. Check locations and hours of operation by visiting NMVote.orgor by contacting your County Clerk’s Office.

Q: Can I deliver a completed absentee ballot at a early voting location?

A: Yes. Voters may vote in-person or hand-deliver a completed absentee ballot at any early voting location.

Q: How many early voting centers will there be in Bernalillo County for the 2020 General Election?

A: There will be 20 Early Voting Convenience Centers open in Bernalillo County from October 17, 2020 to October 31, 2020. Most locations open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a full list of 20 early voting centers, visit https://www.bernco.gov/clerk/early-voting-locations.aspx.

Voting In-Person

Q: What is does the Public Health Order – Polling Locations address?

A: The maximum number of voters allowed inside of a polling location that is not a mobile unit at any given time shall be the greater of a maximum of four ( 4) voters or 25% of the maximum occupancy of the location, as determined by the relevant fire marshal or fire department… read more

Q: What can I expect if I vote in-person?

A: Plan out your trip. Check your voting location and requirements in advance because they may have changed due to COVID-19. Verify your voter registration information is correct in advance of reporting to the polling location.

To avoid crowds, consider early voting.

  • Where possible, review or complete a sample ballot at home to speed the process of casting your ballot at the polling location.
  • Bring your own black ink pen.
  • Bring a stylus or similar object for use with touchscreen voting machines. Check with poll workers before using.
  • Vote at off-peak times, such as mid-morning. If driving to the polls and your schedule allows, monitor the voter line from your car and join it when it’s shorter.
  • Lines maybe long so bring water and consider an umbrella if lines form outside.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) of distance from others. It is important to continue social distancing even when you and others are wearing masks.
  • Wash your hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
  • While in the polling location, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol frequently, especially after touching surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles or voting machines.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in lined trash cans. Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a mask. Children under 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a mask.
  • Do not disinfect or wipe down the voting equipment yourself.

General Questions Regarding Voting in New Mexico

Q: Was New Mexico one the 46 states to receive the letter from the United States Postal Service letter?

A: Yes. The letter highlighted some key aspects of the Postal Service’s delay process. The letter from the USPS also stated “it appears that your voters should have sufficient time to receive, complete and return their ballots by the state’s deadline.”

Q: I got two letters to request a mail-in ballot, is it legit?

A: Yes. They are from the Center for Voter Information based in Washington D.C. which sends the applications on to the New Mexico Secretary of State. New Mexico county clerks will mail ballots on Oct. 6, following the applications received after Sept. 14.

Protecting Your Vote

  1. Know when, where, and how you will vote.
  2. Seek out election information from trustworthy sources, verify who produced the content, and consider their intent.
  3. Report potential election crimes—such as disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting—to the FBI.
  4. If appropriate, make use of in-platform tools offered by social media companies for reporting suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voting and elections.
  5. Research individuals and entities to whom you are making political donations.

Victim Reporting

The FBI encourages people to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office.

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