Frequently asked Election Questions

Welcome to the Secretary of State's Office, Bureau of Elections web page.  We are proud to provide the public information on statewide and federal elections. The following are a few frequently asked questions provided to assist you in the upcoming election in 2012.

 

When are the 2012 Primary and General Elections held in New Mexico? 

  • The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (1-8-11)
  • The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (NM Constitution, Article 20, Section 6)

VOTER REGISTRATION

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How do I register to vote in New Mexico?

  • You may register to vote on two different forms - either the New Mexico Certificate of Registration form or the National Voter Registration Form.
  • The New Mexico Certificate of Registration Form ("New Mexico Form") is available at any county clerk's office, the Office of the Secretary of State, or many state agencies that serve specific clients at those offices such as motor vehicle offices (Section 1-4-5.1, 1-4-5.2, NMSA 1978) and offices offering public assistance.
  • A voter may request the New Mexico form by mail, telephone, or in person. The New Mexico form is on cardstock, is a permanent record and is not available online. It may not be duplicated. You may also register with a Third-Party Registration Agent (Section 1-4-5, NMSA 1978).
  • The National Voter Registration Form ("National Form") is available online at www.fec.gov.  This form may be downloaded or duplicated by any voter or organization.
  • Individuals or groups conducting voter registration drives may use Third Party Registration Forms or the National Form. Once a form is filled out, individuals or groups cannot copy, convey or use the date of birth or social security number information on the form (Section 1-4-5 (E), NMSA 1978).
  • Organizations employing registration agents or using volunteer registration agents shall deliver a certificate of registration to the Secretary of State or the county clerk within 48 hours. A person who willfully violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall have his third-party registration agent status revoked (Section 1-4-49 (D), NMSA 1978). The Secretary of State will send completed forms to the appropriate county clerk.
  • Once the county clerk has accepted the form for filing, individuals or groups may make a public records request. However, the day and month of birth and the social security number on the form is always privacy protected (Section 1-4-12 (C), NMSA 1978).
  • If you are registering for the first time in New Mexico, and you submit the registration form by mail, then you must submit with the form a copy of (1) a current and valid photo identification; or (2) a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo that shows your name and current address. If you do not submit one of these forms of identification with your mailed-in, first time registration, then you would be required to present one of the forms of identification when voting in person or absentee.
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When does voter registration close?

  • Voter registration closes 28 days prior to an election. (Section 1-4-8 (A)(1),(6), NMSA 1978). For the Primary Election, the deadline is May 8, 2012. For the General Election, the deadline is October 9, 2012.
  • Hand delivered voter registrations, delivered directly to the county clerk, may be delivered until the Friday after the close of registration if the voter registration is dated and postmarked on or before the 28 days preceding the election and received on the Friday after the close of registration. (Section1-4-5.1 (E) and 1-4-8 (A)(6), NMSA 1978).
  • For military and overseas voters ONLY, county clerks shall accept a certificate of registration by electronic transmission until the Friday before the election at 5:00 p.m. For the Primary Election, the deadline is June 1, 2012 (Section 1-4-8 (B), NMSA 1978).
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Do I need to register for every election?

  • No, registration is permanent in New Mexico as long as you do not move, change your name or party affiliation.
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Do I need to change my registration if I move?  Even if I move to a different address in the same city?

  • Yes, if you do not change your address, a postcard will be mailed to your old address to confirm that you have moved. If you do not respond, your voter registration will be cancelled if you do not re-register or if you do not appear to vote in any election within four years. (PL 103-31).
  • You also need to change your voter registration if you change your name or want to change your party affiliation.
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How do I change my party registration?

  • You need to fill out a new voter registration form and submit it to the county clerk or Secretary of State‚Äôs office in order to change your party affiliation.

VOTING

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Do I need to present identification when I vote?

  • You do not have to present a photo ID. Only if you are registering for the first time in New Mexico, and you submit the registration form by mail, then you must submit with the form a copy of (1) a current and valid photo identification; or (2) a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo that shows your name and current address. If you do not submit one of these forms of identification with your mailed-in, first time registration, then you would be required to present one of the forms of identification when voting in person or absentee.
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  • What identification do I need to provide?

    The Election Code defines "required voter identification' as

    • (A) a physical form of identification, which may be: (1) an original or copy of a current and valid photo identification with or without an address, which address is not required to match the voter's certificate of registration or a voter identification card: or (2) an original or copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo, that shows the name and address of the person, the address of which is not required to match the voter's certificate of registration; or

    • (B) a verbal or written statement by the voter of the voter's name, year of birth and registered address; provided, however, that the statement of the voter's name need not contain the voter's middle initial or suffix.


    • The voter has the option of choosing the form of ID, either the physical form described in paragraph (A), or the verbal or written statement described in paragraph (B).


    • If a voter fails to provide either the written or verbal required identification, the voter shall be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot.

    ABSENTEE VOTING BY MAIL

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    If I choose to vote absentee by mail, what must I include on the application for an absentee ballot?

    • Each application for an absentee ballot shall be signed by the applicant and shall require the applicant's printed name, year of birth and registered address to be supplied by the applicant, which shall constitute the required form of identification.
    • If you registered for the first time in New Mexico and submitted the registration form by mail and did not provide a copy of your identification with your voter registration, then you must submit with the form a copy of (1) a current and valid photo identification; or (2) a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo that shows your name and current address.
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    How do I request an absentee ballot?

    Click here to download an Application for Absent Voter Ballot.
    Mail your Application for Absent Voter Ballot to your County Clerk's Office.
    • A voter may request an absentee ballot on the New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application or the Federal Postcard ballot application for military and overseas voters (Section 1-6-4 (A)(B), NMSA 1978).  If a military or overseas voter submits the Federal Postcard registration form, it also acts as an absentee request form.
    • The New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application is available at any county clerk's office.  A voter or organization may request the New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application by mail, telephone, or in person.  However, the information on the form may not be altered or re-arranged (Section 1-6-4 (B), NMSA 1978).
    • The Federal Postcard absentee ballot application ("Federal Absentee Application") is available at www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefpca.pdf.  Military personnel should also contact their Voting Assistance Officer for additional information.
    • The voter must complete the application on their own (Section 1-6-4 (C), NMSA 1978).
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    What is the deadline to request an absentee ballot?

    • The county clerk must receive the New Mexico Absentee Ballot Application no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2012 for the 2012 Primary Election, and Friday, November 2, 1012 for the General Election (Section 1-6-5 (G), NMSA 1978).
    • The county clerk must either mail the ballot or notify the voter why the application was not accepted within 24 hours of receipt of the application. (Section 1-6-6(B), NMSA 1978)
    • The county clerk must receive the signed Federal Absentee Application by facsimile or scanned document no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2012 for the Primary Election and Friday, November 2, 2012 for the General Election. (Section 1-4-8, NMSA 1978)
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    If I apply for an absentee ballot and receive it, can I change my mind and vote at my polling place on Election Day?

    • No, not if you received the ballot. If you apply for an absentee ballot and receive it, you must vote that ballot. You will not be issued another ballot if the original ballot is destroyed, discarded or delivered to the polls unvoted (Section 1-6-16 (A), NMSA 1978).
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    What if I do not receive my absentee ballot?

    • If you apply for, but do not receive the absentee ballot, you may go to the county clerk's office until 5:00 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012 for the Primary Election and Monday, November 5, 2012 for the General Election, and apply for a replacement absentee ballot (Section 1-6-16 (A), NMSA 1978).
    • You may also go to your polling place and vote on a replacement absentee ballot on Election Day (Section 1-6-16.1 (A), NMSA 1978).
    • In both cases, you will be required to sign a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that you did not receive your ballot.
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    Who can take the absentee ballot back to the county clerk?

    • A member of your immediate family or your caregiver may hand-deliver your absentee ballot.  An unrelated third party may not deliver another voter's absentee ballot (Section 1-6-10.1, NMSA 1978).
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    When does an absentee ballot have to be returned for it to be counted?

    • Ballots must be returned to the county clerk or voter's precinct before 7:00 p.m. on Election Day to be counted (Section 1-6-10 (B), NMSA 1978).

    MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTERS

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    What about military and overseas voters?

    • If you are a military or overseas voter, you may transmit your absentee ballot by facsimile or scanned document to your county clerk.  You must sign and transmit a waiver of secrecy form that will be provided by the county clerk (Section 1-6-4.1 (D), NMSA 1978). For more information please go to: http://www.fvap.gov/

    EARLY VOTING IN PERSON

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    What about Early Voting?

    • You may also vote early in-person, instead of voting by mail.  You may go to your county clerk's office beginning the 28th day before the election and vote.  (Section 1-6-5, NMSA 1978).
    • Early voting begins on the third Saturday before the election at alternate sites.  Call your county clerk for locations.
    • Early voting ends the Saturday before the election.

    PROVISIONAL VOTING

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    When does a voter get a provisional ballot?

    • You will be issued a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the roster at your polling place or if you are a first time voter who registered by mail and do not provide the required identification. Refer to the question above on required voter identification. (Section 1-12-8 (A) (B), NMSA 1978).

    OTHER QUESTIONS

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    What kind of ballots and voting systems are used in New Mexico?

    • New Mexico uses paper ballots that are scanned on an optical scan tabulating system. This system is used for early voting, absentee voting and election-day at each polling location. New Mexico's voting equipment is uniform state-wide: Election Systems and Software (ES&S) M-100 and M-650 Tabulators, and AutoMARK (ADA Compliant).
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    When does a voter get an emergency paper ballot?

    • Emergency paper ballots are issued at the polling place only when a voting system becomes disabled and cannot be repaired in a reasonable length of time and there are no other voting machines available for substitution (Section 1-12-13 (C), NMSA 1978).
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    What is an alternative ballot?

    • If you become ill after the period for absentee balloting and are unable to go to the polls, you may request a ballot in writing.  Your request must also be signed by your health care provider.  Your ballot will be given to the person who presented the request to the county clerk and shall be returned by the same person (Section 1-6-16.2, NMSA 1978).
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    What if I need help in voting?  Who can help me with my ballot?

    • You may request assistance in voting at the polls if you are blind, physically disabled, unable to read or write or a member of a language minority (Section 1-12-12, NMSA 1978).
    • Any person of your choice may assist you, except your employer, an agent of the employer, an officer or agent of your union, or a candidate whose name is on the ballot (Section 1-12-15, NMSA 1978).

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    For more information, contact the Bureau of Elections, Office of the Secretary of State at: (505) 827-3600 or (800) 477-3632 or by E-mail