Voter deadlines loom for general election

Sept. 25 is National Voter Registration Day, and deadlines for the Nov. 6 general election are right around the corner for those who want to exercise the right to vote that day.

Voter registration closes Oct. 9—anyone who misses this mark will not be able to vote in this year’s general election.

Voter registration can be done online at the Secretary of State’s website, sos.state.nm.us, following the link to “Register to Vote Online!” The Secretary of State’s website also allows voters to check the status of their voter registration, for example, after a move.

That voter information portal lists the voter’s precinct number, along with districts for various offices, including Congress, school board, state House and Senate, and others.

Those who want to register to vote can also find voter registration forms at any government office or at their local county clerk’s office.

Torrance County

In Torrance County, Linda Jaramillo is the county clerk. She said her office takes calls to answer voter questions for those who don’t want to navigate the state’s website.

Jaramillo’s office can be reached at 505-544-4368 for information. Her email address is ljaramillo@tcnm.us, and the website is torrancecountynm.org; then follow the link to the county clerk. The mailing address is P.O. Box 767, Estancia, NM 87016, and the office’s fax number is 505-384-4080.

The same day that voter registration closes, what is called “absentee in-person” or simply “early voting” begins at the county clerks’ offices and alternate voting sites.

In Torrance County, early voting may be done in person at the county clerk’s office at the Torrance County Administration Building, at 205 South 9th Avenue in Estancia starting Oct. 9. The office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and is closed on Fridays and the weekend.

From Oct. 20 to Nov. 3, an alternate site for in-person early voting will be at the Moriarty Civic Center, located at 202 South Broadway in Moriarty. That site will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, during that 15-day period just before election day.

For traditional absentee voting, for example for those who are out of state for work, or those who can’t easily access transportation or may be homebound, there is a process to follow.

First, an absentee ballot application is requested from the county clerk, who then mails the absentee ballot to the voter. The deadline for that application is Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.—that means the application must be in the county clerk’s office by that time, not a postmark by that time. If the application was not completed correctly, the county clerk will mail a notification with the reason why the application was not accepted within 24 hours. If the ballot is not received, contact your county clerk no later than Nov. 5.

The voter fills in that absentee ballot, seals it according to instructions on the ballot—an important step to make sure the ballot is counted—and mails it back to the county clerk, who must receive that ballot before the polls close on Election Day. That absentee ballot may also be returned to the county clerk or alternate voting site in person, hence the term “absentee in-person” voting.

That absentee ballot may also be returned by email or fax under the Military and Overseas Voter Act, which allows for returning the ballot by fax or email.

Jaramillo said that an absentee ballot may be hand-carried to the clerk’s office or to a polling location on Election Day by someone other than the voter, as long as it is received by poll workers by 7 p.m. that day.

Santa Fe County

The Santa Fe County Clerk is Geraldine Salazar. Her office’s Bureau of Elections can be reached at 505-986-6280; Salazar’s email address is gsalazar@santafecountynm.gov and the website is santafecountynm.gov, then follow the link to the county clerk. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1985, Santa Fe, NM 87504, and the fax line is 505-995-2767. Overseas voters may contact overseas@santafenm.gov.

The same day that voter registration closes, early voting begins at the county clerk’s office and alternate voting sites.

Early voting starts Oct. 9 at the county clerk’s office at 102 Grant Avenue in Santa Fe during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office will be closed Oct. 8.

The county clerk’s office will also be open for early voting on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alternate sites for early voting will be open Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, with hours of 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Sites are available around the county, including the former campus of Edgewood Elementary School at 285 Dinkle Road in Edgewood.

Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover’s elections bureau can be reached at 505-243-8683, or 243-VOTE.

The website is bernco.gov, then follow the link to the county clerk. The mailing address is P.O. Box 542, Albuquerque, NM 87103-0542.

Stover’s office held a voter registration drive Sept. 25 on Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, calling on the public to register to vote or update their voter registration.

At the event, she introduced a mobile voting unit. “This is a project I had in mind long before I ran for office and I have continually pursued,” Stover said in a press release. “The idea came from the need to fill a void for seniors who may become disenfranchised due to their inability to make it into the polling sites.”

The mobile voting unit will be placed at or near a different senior facility throughout Bernalillo County each day during early voting and is open to all qualified registered Bernalillo County voters. “To my knowledge, this is the first mobile voting unit of its kind offered in the southwest.”

Early voting is available at locations around Bernalillo County, and voters registered in the county may vote at any location.

The East Mountain location is Tijeras City Hall at 12 Camino Municipal in Tijeras, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 3, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Another nearby location is at the Four Hills Shopping Center at 13140 Central Ave. SE, Suite 1420, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 3, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The mobile voting unit will be at Whispering Pines Senior Center at 6 Lark Road, Tijeras on Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As of Sept. 25, no date for the mobile voting unit was set for the Tijeras Senior Center on the county clerk’s website.