ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Voters are showing up at the polls early in record numbers this year, waiting for an hour sometimes longer to cast their ballots. Voters say they’ve never seen the polls, this busy during early voting. “I’ve never had to wait in line in the past, I usually get to walk right in,” said voter Susan Kennedy.
Thursday morning voters lined up around the building at the Andalucia Shopping Center on Coors near Montano. The County Clerk says there was about a 45-minute wait for voters at Petroglyph Plaza and Los Altos Plaza when the polls opened. By 2 p.m. those wait times had dropped, with the longest being ten minutes at Los Ranchos Villa.
Gabe Sanchez, a Political Science Professor at the University of New Mexico says early voting has been on the rise in New Mexico for the past few elections, but he says this is the busiest he’s seen since 2008.
“You have so many things driving a voter enthusiasm, COVID-19 and relief and recovery, whether it’s opening businesses on one hand versus more precautions and safety on the other. You also have a vacancy on the Supreme Court that’s got a lot of folks interested in the long-term implications,” said Sanchez.
The County Clerk says it’s hard to predict what election day might look like, but Sanchez says he expects a lot of voters will wait until November 3 to cast their ballot because some people are undecided or simply just like the tradition of voting on Election Day.
The Bernalillo County Clerk is reporting more than 58,000 people have voted in-person and nearly 92,000 have sent in their absentee ballots in Bernalillo County. According to the Secretary of State, more than 400,000 have voted statewide including in-person and absentee.
KRQE News 13 asked the County Clerk’s office which polling locations have been the busiest with the longest wait times, they say it varies day by day.
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