LAS CRUCES − Early voting for the Nov. 8 election got underway in Doña Ana County Tuesday morning. The first early voting location opened at 8 am at the Doña Ana County Government Building, 845 North Motel Blvd., and before long there was a line extending out of the room into the hallway.
In this general election, voters will select representatives in the state legislature, county sheriffs and commissioners, judgeships, federal officers and the governor. Voters will also decide the fate of three proposed amendments to the New Mexico Constitution.
Visitors entering the building passed video monitors showing the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting that was in session. County offices were busting.
By the end of the day, the county clerk’s office said 713 voters had turned out while 20 absentee ballots from overseas voters were received. Chief Deputy Clerk Lindsey Bachman said that number approached turnout on the first day of early voting in the 2018 general election, when 750 ballots were received.
It did not, however, rival the scene when early voting opened on Oct. 6, 2020, when a long line of voters, spaced apart and mostly wearing masks in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, extended down the front walk outside the building by 8 am
“We didn’t have any big hiccups today and turnout was pretty steady,” Bachman said Tuesday evening.
Some of those voting on the first day were local elected officials and candidates. Shortly after 10 am, congressional candidate and former Las Cruces City Council member Gabe Vasquez arrived to cast his vote, accompanied by state Sen. Carrie Hamblen, both Democrats.
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“The nice thing is, we had to wait because they didn’t have any spots,” Hamblen said after she and Vasquez cast their ballots.
At 1 pm, state Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, reported via Twitter that he had cast the 382nd ballot at the location. The number is displayed on the tabulation machine into which voters insert their paper ballots after completing them.
Registered voters may complete their ballots at the government building from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, through Nov. 4; and from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, Nov. 5. After that, early voting closes and voters will be able to cast ballots on Nov. 8.
Beginning Oct. 22, early voting will expand to more locations across the county:
- Anthony City Hall Municipal Complex in Anthony
- Delores C. Wright Education Center at Chaparral
- Hatch High School in Hatch
- Las Cruces City Hall, NMSU Corbett Center
- Sonoma Elementary School at Las Cruces
- Mesilla Town Hall in Mesilla
- Dona Ana Community College in Sunland Park
Absentee ballot applications will be accepted through Nov. 3, and those ballots must be received before 7 pm on Election Day, Nov. 8.
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Eligible voters may register to vote via same-day registration at voting locations throughout early voting and on Election Day. More information can be found at https://NMVote.org.
Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, [email protected] or @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.