NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – County clerks are asking the state Supreme Court for permission to conduct New Mexico’s primary elections by mail because of the coronavirus. The petition seeks emergency court intervention.
Monday the clerks petitioned the court saying that the pandemic makes it impossible to conduct traditional election day balloting. They also say it’s impractical for the legislature to meet quickly to establish emergency voting procedures.
In the 32-page petition, the clerks make the argument that poll workers are also scared to work. They also note election sites like schools are already closed with no plans of reopening, which justifies their request to move to mail-in ballots.
They state that they would operate the upcoming election under procedures that are already allowed for special elections by mail. However, they would make some changes to make sure they are in compliance with federal law for elections involving federal candidates.
This primary election, voters will vote for a president and seats in the U.S. House and Senate.
In the petition, the clerks say they would open a limited number of polling sites to help voters who must vote in person and for people to drop off ballots. However, they suggest that election should be conducted by mail, with a ballot sent to each active voter.
Absentee and early voting ballots are scheduled to begin May 5. New Mexico’s primary election is June 2.
The Supreme Court has yet to respond to the petition.