Decision 2021: Early voting turnout

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 128,000 votes have already been cast in New Mexico.

Across the state, county clerks said voters who don’t have high-profile races to decide seem to have stayed at home – perhaps worn out by nonstop politics. Outside of the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor, turnout numbers are down.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said the turnout, overall, has been lower for early voting this year.

"I would say it’s a little bit lower for early and absentee voting, only because we’ve seen such robust participation in those areas in, gosh, I don’t know how many elections here in the state," Toulouse Oliver said. "But the thing that we always know is that Election Day is the great equalizer. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I would anticipate a very busy day tomorrow."

Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover is hoping for a big turnout on Election Day.

"At the beginning of early voting and through the middle of last week, I was a little concerned," Stover said. "We were running about 12%. But Thursday, Friday and Saturday turned out to be really good voting days."

It’s hard to know what to expect as New Mexicans emerge from pandemic voting protocols. This election is – minus the mask requirements – pretty normal in that the public can vote how they please.

The Doña Ana County Clerk summed it up in a word: disappointing. They’re reporting just a 5% turnout so far.

The 2019 Local Election Act was meant to consolidate elections and drive up turnout, but election experts said it takes time for voters to adjust.

The polls will close Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.