Updated: October 05, 2020 10:14 PM
Created: October 05, 2020 07:13 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots will start to be sent out to New Mexico voters this week.
The latest numbers from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office show more than 305,000 voters have already requested an absentee ballot.
Alex Curtas, Communications Director with the Secretary of State’s office, said county clerks will begin sending those ballots out on Tuesday.
“That’s a substantial amount and we haven’t even started absentee balloting in earnest yet,” he said. “That, of course, starts tomorrow, and so we definitely expect to see an uptick in absentee balloting in comparison to other elections.”
Dr. Lonna Atkeson, a political science professor at UNM and Executive Director for the Institute for Social Research, said the number of New Mexicans planning to vote by mail this election is historic.
“In 2018 we had about 80,000 people vote by mail, so we have already almost four times as many people requesting ballots as voted in the last general election by mail,” she said.
There’s a big difference between Democrats and Republicans. So far, more than 191,000 Democrats have requested an absentee ballot. In comparison, just over 64,000 Republican voters applied for a mail-in ballot.
KOB 4 asked Atkeson about that difference.
“I think there are two different things going on there,” she said. “The first one is there’s an active campaign going on. There’s a bunch of groups out there sending ballot applications, third party groups sending applications to, especially, Democratic voters. A lot of them are being sent to voters who don’t always vote all the time, targeting sort of younger voters and female voters. So that’s part of it, sort of who’s being targeted.”
Atkeson also said there’s more concern on the Republican side about mail-in voting. That's because President Trump has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the mail-in voting process.
“Clearly there is this divide going on,” said Atkeson. “These two narratives about mail balloting and that’s impacting this as well such that democrats are being encouraged by their party and interested groups to vote by mail whereas it’s a little more iffy on the other side. There definitely is support for the process, but you hear a lot more talk about fraud and concerns about that.”
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