New Mexico embraces early, absentee voting in midterm

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Voter participation by early and absentee balloting in Tuesday’s election has nearly surpassed participation by those methods in New Mexico’s 2018 midterm election.

The New Mexico secretary of state’s office on Monday said that nearly 440,000 ballots have been cast through the close of early in-person voting on Saturday and by absentee voting, with more than a day remaining in the election. That’s only a few thousand votes shy of the 2018 tally for all early and absentee ballots.

Registered Democrats accounted for nearly 52% of early and absentee ballots cast so far in advance of Election Day. Registered Republicans have cast nearly 35% of the total.

New Mexico voters are deciding whether to reelect Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who won an open race in 2018 to succeed termed-out Republican Susana Martinez.

Republican nominee and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti has mounted a well-financed challenge that highlights concerns about crime, inflation and public school performance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lujan Grisham is promoting her support for abortion access as a cornerstone of women’s rights, while urging voters to stay the course on increased public investments in public education, health care and tuition-free college.

Several dozen union workers, their families and other supporters gathered Monday evening in Albuquerque for a final rally in support of the governor and other Democratic candidates before Election Day. They waved signs, chanted and donned “MLG” buttons.

Across town, Ronchetti energized a crowd of his supporters at an Albuquerque park, marking the final stop for what has been a statewide tour.

Biden campaigned in Albuquerque last week in support of Lujan Grisham, while Republicans ranging from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to former President Donald Trump have endorsed Ronchetti.

New Mexico voters are picking their favorite candidates for a long list of statewide elected offices, including secretary of state, attorney general and land commissioner to oversee energy development across vast swaths of state trust land.

Three first-term congresswomen are seeking reelection, as Democrats defend their majority in the state House.

Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell is seeking a second term after flipping the 2nd Congressional District to Republican control in 2020. She’s competing with Democratic former Las Cruces city councilor Gabe Vasquez.

The U.S. Justice Department announced that it will monitor two New Mexico counties on Tuesday for compliance with federal voting rights law — part of a regular efforts by the agency’s civil rights division. Bernalillo and San Juan counties are among 64 jurisdictions nationwide that were chosen this year to be monitored for compliance with the Voting Rights Act.


Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.