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.

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

FAQ Topics


Important Dates


  • September 14 – New Mexico clerk’s offices may begin to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters
  • October 6
    • Voter registration closes for online registration and registration by mail
    • Absentee Voting Begins
    • Clerks begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who have requested them
    • Early Voting and Same Day Registration at Bernalillo County Clerk’s Annex begins
  • October 17 – Expanded early voting locations will open in each county begins
  • October 20 – Deadline to request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballot requests can be made online through the Secretary of State’s website
  • October 27 –  Recommended final day for voter to mail absentee ballot
  • Saturday, Oct. 31 – Early in-person voting ends.
  • November 3 – Election Day and absentee ballots due

League of Women Voter Guides [PDFs]


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


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 voting location on election day, November 3rd? 

A: On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, you may drop off your completed absentee ballot as follows:

  • Any of the 70 Election Day Voting Convenience Centers, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Inform poll official at door that you are dropping off a completed absentee ballot and you will not have to wait in line (unless there is a separate absentee ballot drop off line).
  • Drive through absentee ballot drop off location at 5th and Marquette next to the old city hall. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Drive west on Marquette from 3rd street, stay in left lane, watch for signs and election personnel. Voters will drop off their absentee ballot through a car window and receive an “I Voted” sticker.  

Q: How do I prepare my absentee ballot for drop off on Election Day?

A: Absentee ballots must be completed according to the instructions or they will be rejected.

  • Clearly mark your choices on the absentee ballot.
    • For write-in candidates, you must fill in the oval in addition to neatly writing the name.
  • Insert the completed ballot into the inner envelope and seal it (using tape if necessary).
  • Insert the inner envelope into the outer mailing envelope.
    • Sign the outer envelope where indicated under the privacy flap.
    • Enter the last 4 digits of your SSN where indicated under the privacy flap.
  • Seal the outer envelope.
  • Return your absentee ballot

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: 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: 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: Is it okay if the marker I used on my absentee ballot bled through a little?

A: Yes. If you used a felt tip marker that bled through your absentee ballot a little, that will be fine. It wil not interfere with the processing of your ballot. If you haven’t filled out your ballot yet, we prefer that you use a black pen. Be sure to complete the ballot by placing it in the inner envelope, inserting the inner envelope into the outer envelope. You then must sign the outer envelope and enter the last 4 digits of your social security number under the privacy flap, and seal the envelope.

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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