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County has state’s lowest turnout for Primary


Doña Ana County had the lowest turnout by percentage of all 33 New Mexico counties in the June 2 Primary Election, according to unofficial numbers from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office (NMSOS). It also has the highest percentage of voters registered as independent or declined to state (DTS).

The Primary turnout is based on the number of registered Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians – the three major parties recognized in New Mexico – who voted in the Primary.

For Doña Ana County, that means slightly more than 26,000 of 88,932 eligible voters voted early or on Election Day.

Because New Mexico is one 13 states with a closed Primary, only voters registered within a party can vote in that party’s Primary. Voters who register as independent or decline to state a party affiliation are locked out of the Primary process.

The county’s turnout for the Primary was 29.3 percent. That’s despite Republicans choosing candidates for the U.S. Senate and House, Democrats choosing candidates for county offices and members of both parties choosing candidates for the state legislature and county commission and deciding how the state’s presidential delegates would be allotted.

Campaigning was limited because of COVID-19, but the Primary generated a huge amount of attention in April when the state Supreme Court ruled that in-person voting must be allowed. Eligible voters got absentee-ballot request forms in the mail and there was a flood of mailers from candidates. Even so, more than two out of every three eligible voters in the county did not vote in the Primary.

Santa Fe County was reported to have had a turnout of 59.69 percent, the state’s highest.

The statewide turnout was 42.46 percent, as 422,000 of the state’s nearly 994,000 eligible voters turned out.

Now for the other number.

In Doña Ana County, 45.8 percent of registered voters are Democrats, 26 percent are Republicans, almost one percent are Libertarians, less than one percent are “other” and 26.4 percent – the highest in the state – are independents or DTS. That means there are more independents/DTS than Republicans in the county.

The county has 122,061 registered voters when everyone is counted, or 9.465 percent of the state’s 1,289,494 eligible voters. Statewide, 45.6 percent are Democrats, 30.5 percent are Republicans, 0.9 percent are Libertarians, one percent are “other,” while 22.1 percent are independents/DTS.