The State Canvassing Board met on July 5 to discuss the Libertarian Party’s application to recount ballots from the Primary Election.
The recount application was accepted, provided the state receives payment for the full estimated cost of the effort. The recount is set for today, July 11 in eight New Mexico counties, including Chaves County. The other counties are Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Los Alamos, Otero, San Juan, Sandoval and Santa Fe.
To cover the recount’s cost, the party was to deposit $10,400 with the Secretary of State’s Office, and will receive its money back if the recount is successful.
Uncontested Libertarian write-in candidates Bob Walsh, running for governor, and Robin Dunn, running for lieutenant governor, each needed 230 write-in votes in the Primary Election to be on the ballot for the General Election. Walsh received 175 statewide votes, while Dunn received 177.
New Mexico State Statute Section 1-8-36.1F it states, “No unopposed write-in candidate shall have the write-in candidate’s nomination certified unless the write-in candidate receives at least the number of write-in votes in the primary election as the write-in candidate would need signatures on a nominating petition …”
New Mexican Libertarian Party Chair Chris Luchini said, “This is a legal action taken by the candidates, but the party supports this decision.”
Based on speculation that voters wrote down candidate names without also filling in an oval to complete their selection, the recount will take a closer look at each individual ballot instead of machine-counting them. If the recount succeeds the candidates’ names will be allowed on the General Election ballot.
Krik Myers, Chaves County Libertarian Party vice chair, said that the recount is necessary because, “Some counties up North didn’t allow write-ins because they didn’t know we (Libertarians) were counted as a third major party.” Believing that voters were turned away, the State Canvassing Board allowed further investigation.
In New Mexico there are 8,603 registered Libertarians according to the Secretary of State, and there are 208 Libertarians in Chaves County. A total of 691 Libertarians cast ballots in the Primary Election and more than 630 ballots were taken from the eight counties selected for recount.
In 2016 Libertarians achieved major party status with the strong representation of presidential candidate Gary Johnson. However, Libertarians might lose their major party status without a candidate for governor in the fall.