The Associated Press
Created: May 19, 2020 12:43 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is embracing absentee balloting like never before in advance of the state’s June 2 primary.
The secretary of state’s office on Tuesday released statistics on voting and requests for absentee ballots that indicate a major increase in remote voting by mail compared to the 2016 presidential primary.
Voting by absentee ballot outpaced early in-person voting by a ration of nearly 3-1 with two weeks to go before Election Day.
Nearly 57,000 primary ballots have been cast. Absentee voting accounted for 41,766 of the votes, or about 73% of the total.
Election regulators and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are urging eligible voters to cast ballots by mail to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
There have been more than 142,000 requests for absentee ballots.
In the 2016 primary, Democrats and Republicans cast about 23,000 absentee ballots out of 188,000 total votes.
The state has a closed primary system in which only registered members major political parties including the Libertarian Party can participate.
Among closely watched primary races is the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for Senate as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Sen. Tom Udall is retiring after two terms.
Republican former state legislator Yvette Herrell and oil executive Claire Chase are locked in an intense competition for the GOP nomination to a congressional swing district in southern New Mexico. That seat is held by first-term Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.
The entire Legislature is up for election as prominent moderate Democrats confront primary challenges by more progressive candidates. Democrats currently hold a sizable majority in the state House and Senate.
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