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2,200 cast ballots so far in primaries; County clerk describes ‘steady’ early, absentee voting

Chaves County Clerk Dave Kunko. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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More than 2,000 Chaves County residents have voted already in the 2018 primary elections for numerous local, state and Congressional offices as primary election day is less than a week away.

Primary election day is Tuesday. About 2,200 voters already have cast their ballots. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

“Our typical primaries are pretty slow,” said Chaves County Clerk Dave Kunko. “This one has been pretty steady.”

Contested races are drawing in voters, he said.

“We have had them when we have opposition and we have had steady primaries, which I believe we are in now,” he said. “We’ve also had them where people were unopposed and there is not much interest. So I think there has been decent turnout as far as primaries for Chaves County go.”

This year, county voters are deciding two local races with contested primaries. For Chaves County Sheriff, Republican incumbent Britt Snyder faces off against retired Sheriff’s Office deputy Mike Herrington. For Chaves County Assessor, Mark Willard, the incumbent and a Republican, is challenged by Daniel Pruitt, an appraiser in the county office.

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Statewide, several offices, including the New Mexico governor’s seat and the Congressional District 2 seat, are fielding several primary candidates.

While absentee ballots in Chaves County continue to come in, so far the Clerk’s Office has recorded about 6.85 percent of its total voters making their choices either by absentee ballot or by early voting at three county locations. Early voting ended Saturday.

Preliminary county records show that 277 people voted by absentee ballot while 1,926 cast their selections by early voting.

Of those who voted, 476 were Democrats, 1,720 were Republicans and five were Libertarians. (The slight discrepancy in totals is due to when reports were run.)

As in prior years, Republican voters far outnumber those registered with other parties in Chaves County.

Countywide, there are 15,516 registered Republicans, 9,403 registered Democrats and 203 registered Libertarians. The remaining 7,006 voters are either registered with other parties or have chosen not to declare a party affiliation.

Primary election day is Tuesday. People can vote at any of the 13 voting convenience centers in the county, which are listed on the Clerk’s Office page of the county’s website, co.chaves.nm.us. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kunko reminds people that they do not need identification unless they are voting for the first time since registering by mail or online and that no campaign materials or promotional items are to be worn or carried within 100 feet of polling locations. Also, in New Mexico, you must be registered with one of the three major political parties to vote for candidates of the same party affiliation.

People can view their current registration information and a sample ballot at the website nmvote.org.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.