ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tuesday is Primary Election Day in New Mexico with people voting on three major races. However, as the state is in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, Election Day was a little different.
While there were some lines at a polling place in Rio Rancho, and about a 20-minute wait for voters during lunch hour at a polling place on Coors and Montano, for the most part, polling places were steady and not busy.
The main voter location in the county at 15th Street and Lomas Blvd. didn’t have long lines Tuesday as it normally would on Election Day. However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t voting.
Bernalillo County says that it’s seen an unprecedented number of absentee ballots this year. As of 1 p.m. on Election Day, there were 90,694 people who absentee voted, most of them being from the democratic party. This is a big contrast to the 7,361 absentee ballots in Bernalillo County for the 2018 primary.
Statewide, as of 1 p.m. on Election Day, the total number of absentee ballots topped 238,000. In the 2016 primary, which was the last primary with a presidential ballot but only two major parties, there were 23,066 absentee ballots statewide.
The pandemic may have also impacted the amount of early voters. Statewide, about 60,000 people voted early, in-person. In the 2018 primary, 99,842 people in the state voted early.
Voters say they’re noticing fewer people voting in-person but say they decided to do it despite the pandemic. “I think it’s more secure to come in-person and it gets counted right away so we know it’s done with,” said voter Pearl Arcola Perez.
“I’ve researched quite a bit about absentee voting and how insecure it is. That’s the main reason I did it in person. I encourage everybody to do that,” said voter Jean-Claude Guenette.
“I think if you are able and willing to do so, I think coming in and actually, physically voting, and be present for the process is kind of part of it and important,” said voter Katie Maestas. Voters also noticed fewer people this year.
“I’m used to seeing more people, it just seems very thin,” said Guenette.
“I thought it was less busy, it moved a lot quicker and it was very easy to vote this year,” said Arcola Perez. Voting in person looks different this year.
Voters and clerks are wearing masks or face shields while some voters are also wearing gloves. If lines do form, there are social distancing marks on the ground to avoid crowding.
A lot of people were coming in-person to the voting center to drop off their absentee ballots which is something election officials encouraged voters to do instead of mailing them in. Polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Secretary of State’s Office says 251,000 people voted early either through an absentee ballot or in-person. A vast majority of those were Democrats, nearly doubling the number of Republicans who voted early.
To take a look at past primary and general election results in New Mexico, click here.
Line is growing about 20 people here now! pic.twitter.com/2dfAkP8x0l— Annalisa Pardo (@ApardoReports) June 2, 2020
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