With early and absentee voting deadlines approaching for the 2020 General Election, both major political parties have taken to encouraging registered voters to use the mail with an absentee ballot request.
According to a report from the New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State, more Democrats than Republicans in Lea County have requested absentee ballot applications even though Republicans outnumber Democrats by about two to one.
“That’s because the Democrats have sent out four mailings of absentee applications to the Democrats. They did that four times,” Lea County Clerk Keith Manes told the News-Sun. “(Republicans) did it twice and some of the counties did it.”
Manes had previously said his office would send out an application for an absentee ballot only if a voter requested it, but the requests are coming in significant numbers.
“Depends on the day, but we’re getting 50-100 a day. It’s continuing,” Manes said, noting the data for Lea County reported by the Secretary of State is supplied by his office.
Between Aug. 28, when the Secretary of State opened an online portal, and Friday morning, 2,094 Lea County voters had requested applications for mail-in absentee ballots — 873 Democrats, 834 Republicans, 15 Libertarians and 372 unaffiliated voters.
By state law, county clerks may begin mailing requested absentee ballots from Oct. 6 to Oct. 20. All ballots must be in the clerks’ offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
“The last day we can mail a ballot is Oct. 20, so we have to have that application before that day,” Manes said.
Alex Curtas, director of communications for the Secretary of State, provided the first of the ballot application reports on Thursday, writing in an email, “I will be sending daily updates about these absentee ballot requests until Oct. 6 when I’ll then adjust the data to reflect vote counts instead (absentee, early in-person, and Election Day).
Curtas plans to break down vote counts by county and political party, as he is doing with the reports of application requests.
On Friday, the total number of absentee ballot requests made so far in New Mexico was 254,635 — 162,711 Democrats, 50,372 Republicans, 1,577 Libertarians and 39,975 unaffiliated voters, listed as “decline to state.”
Not reporting any requests were De Baca, Eddy, Guadalupe and Hidalgo counties.