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How To Vote in New Mexico’s 2020 Election: What You Need to Know

En español | Absentee ballots are available to all registered New Mexico voters who request them, allowing people to vote safely from home amid the coronavirus pandemic:

  • All registered voters can request an absentee ballot application. Absentee ballots will arrive with postage-paid return envelopes.
  • Voters can also cast their ballots early in person from Oct. 6, through Oct. 31, helping cut down on Election Day lines.
A man walks out of an absentee voting station after voting
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s what else you need to know:

How do I register to vote?

You can register online, by mail or in person. The state’s online voter registration portal lets you register or update your registration information, though you’ll need a state-issued driver’s license or ID card and a Social Security number. These must match the information on file with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

You can also download a voter registration form and mail it to your county clerk’s office. If you’re registering for the first time, you’ll need to enclose a copy of a government- or school-issued ID. If you don’t have either, you can include a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other official document that verifies your name and address.

You can pick up a voter registration form at any county clerk’s office, at the MVD and at most public libraries, colleges and universities.

You'll need to register by Oct. 6 to vote in November's general election, though you can also do so during the early-voting window when casting an in-person ballot. Same-day registration on Election Day was approved last year, but it won’t take effect until 2021.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

You don’t need an excuse to vote absentee — the option is available to all registered New Mexico voters. In some places, such as Bernalillo County, absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all registered voters. But in other areas, residents need to request an absentee application from the county clerk’s office. Voters can also download an application and mail it or deliver it to the county clerk or submit their information through the state’s voter portal. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 20.

Absentee voting starts Oct. 6. Your ballot must be received by election officials before 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Day.

How do I know that my absentee ballot is secure?

New Mexico uses only paper ballots and computers that are not attached to the internet. The machines that count votes are checked before the election. Afterward, results are audited three times — at the county and state levels and by an outside group.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find out where to cast your ballot on the state’s voter information portal.

Can I vote before Election Day?

Yes, starting Oct. 6, you can vote at your county clerk’s office or with an absentee ballot. All clerk’s offices will provide early voting through Saturday, Oct. 31, though you should check with your local office to confirm the hours.

The secretary of state’s office encourages people who may need extra assistance or time at the polls to vote early to avoid larger crowds and longer wait times.

What form of identification do I need to vote? 

You'll need a photo ID if you're a first-time voter registering by mail. If you don’t have a photo ID, you can submit a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document (including an ID issued by a Native American nation, tribe or pueblo) that confirms your name and current address. At most polling places, you'll be asked only to verify your name, year of birth and address. But some cities, such as Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, require a government-issued photo ID.

What is being done to make polling places safe from the coronavirus?

The state will provide masks, hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment for election workers and sanitizing equipment for polling sites. Polling sites will have capacity limits, and voters will have to keep an appropriate distance from others. New Mexico has a mask mandate for people in certain public settings, so voters will likely be required to wear a mask.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

Not necessarily. The secretary of state’s office says fewer polling sites will be open because of the pandemic. Check with your city or county election office.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. president
  • U.S. Senate: Ben Ray Lujan (D) vs. Mark Ronchetti (R)
  • U.S. House: All 3 seats
  • State Senate: All 42 seats
  • State House: All 70 seats
  • State Supreme Court: 2 of 5 seats

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.

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AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:

  • Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
  • Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
  • COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?

Also of Interest

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