SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Absentee ballots are officially on their way to New Mexico voters but you may want to double-check how you’re filling it out and when you’re mailing it back. This week, county clerks around the state sent out more than 320,000 absentee ballots.
“It’s obviously a huge election, a really important election. We would encourage everyone to get out there and vote early,” said Alex Curtas, Communications Director for the Secretary of State. “If you’re planning on voting absentee, October 20th is the last day to request an absentee ballot.”
This year will be the first ‘absentee vote’ for many New Mexicans. Each mailer will include three things: your ballot and two envelopes. Following the instructions included, you’ll use black ink to fill out your ballot just like you would in-person.
“You fill out your ballot, put it in the inner envelope, seal that up, then you’re going to put that in the outer envelope,” said Curtas. “That outer envelope requires voters to put two identifying pieces of information on there. It’s going to be your signature and the last four digits of your Social Security number.”
The Secretary of State’s office says there is a safeguard in place in case you do make a mistake when sending your ballot back. An addition to the state law will help you so your ballot is still counted.
“We have something built in the law now that if you make a mistake in sending that absentee ballot back, once your clerk receives it, they realize you didn’t put your last four or something like that,” said Curtas. “They are required to contact you within 24 hours, tell you what the discrepancy was and then how you can fix it to make sure your ballot gets counted.”
The recommended deadline to get it in the mail is Oct. 27. One week out from Election Day, that will give it enough time to get back to the County Clerk. This year’s ballots will also have intelligent mail barcodes so you can track your ballot’s progress.
“We’re not a postmark state so it doesn’t matter when you actually put your ballot in the mail,” said Curtas. “It just matters that it’s in the hands of your County Clerk by 7 p.m. on Election Day.”
If you miss that deadline, you can drop your ballot off at any polling location. If you decide to vote in-person after you’ve already requested an absentee ballot, you just have to tell polling officials and sign an affidavit that cancels that first ballot.