ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tens of thousands of New Mexicans have already cast their ballots across the state in what may already be shaping up to a general election with a record turnout. The latest data from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office indicate more than 71,000 ballots have already been cast in by voters in the state.
As of October 13, the Secretary of State says 71,056 ballots have been cast early through early in-person voting or via absentee ballot. KRQE Political Analyst Gabe Sanchez estimates this could be an election where turnout is comparable to 2008 numbers when more than 70% of New Mexicans cast ballots as Democrat Barack Obama faced Republican John McCain in the presidential election.
“Maybe potentially getting up to even 70% or higher of registered voters actually casting a ballot in New Mexico,” Sanchez said. “I think that’s really the story is high enthusiasm, a lot to be excited about for voters, there’s a lot to be scared about for voters as well, which is motivating a lot of folks to request an absentee ballot and a lot of folks to vote early.”
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, there were over 1.3 million registered New Mexican voters at the end of September. Out of the 2020 general election so far, registered Democrats are outpacing Republicans in ballots cast statewide, with Democrats casting about 8,000 more voters than Republicans.
There’s also a notable difference in absentee ballots cast versus in-person voting between both parties. Democrats have cast 16,792 absentee votes as of Tuesday morning, compared to 18,968 in-person votes. For Republicans, 22,410 votes have been cast in-person so far, compared to around 4,654 absentee ballots cast.
Those numbers merely represent ballots collected, not who people have voted for. Sanchez says the numbers appear to favor Democrats so far, comparable to the last mid-term election.
“With so many Democratic votes locked in early, that gives (Republicans) less time to persuade moderate Democrats to vote their way,” Sanchez said. “A lot of the last few weeks is really aimed at you know undecided voters and some of those folks that are on the fence, which tend be moderate on both sides of the aisle so that really reduces that opportunity for Republicans to make those last-minute persuasions.”
In the last presidential election in 2016, about 61 percent of registered New Mexican voters cast a ballot. In 2012, it was about 62 percent.
Nationally, Sanchez says of states reporting so far about 54% of ballots cast have been from Democrats compared to about 24% of Republicans and 20% independent or third party.
You can watch KRQE News 13’s extended interview and analysis with Gabe Sanchez online as part of the “Your Local Election Headquarters” digital show, a new live streaming, online-only political program with KRQE’s Chris McKee. The show airs every Tuesday at 11 a.m.
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