The June 7 Primary Election is just over the horizon but there are plenty of important dates and deadlines before then.
To participate in the New Mexico primary election, you have to be registered with one of the three major parties — Democrat, Libertarian or Republican.
New Mexico has what are called “closed” primaries, meaning only voters registered as members of those three major parties can cast a ballot for the candidates of that party.
For instance, in the primary races for governor this year, Republicans can vote for one of five candidates, Libertarians have three candidates on the primary ballot to choose from and there is only one primary candidate for Democrats.
Voters will receive a primary ballot with candidates belonging to the major party they are registered with, and can vote for one candidate in each office.
After the primary, there will be only one candidate per party who will then be placed on the ballot for the November General Election. That’s when all eligible registered voters, regardless of party or lack thereof, get to vote for one candidate.
One big change to same-day registration for the primary election this year is voters who are registered with a minor party or have declined to select a party can register with a major party and cast a ballot during early voting or on Election Day.
If a voter is already affiliated with a major party, they won’t be able to make a change.
While a voter must be affiliated with one of the three major parties to vote in a primary, they, along with voters registered with minor parties or who have declined to select a party, can participate in the November General Election.
The deadline to register to vote in the June primary is 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 10. You can register electronically by visiting the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website — sos.state.nm.us — or by mail using a registration form provided by the Valencia County Clerk’s Office.
To request a paper form, call the clerk’s office at 505-866-2080 and ask that a voter registration application be mailed to your residential or mailing address, or send a letter to Valencia County Clerk’s Office, Bureau of Elections, P.O. Box 969, Los Lunas, N.M. 87031.
You can also request the form in person by visiting the clerk’s office at 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas.
Tuesday, May 10, is also the same day early in-person voting begins at the Valencia County Administration Offices, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas. Early in-person voting is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until Friday, May 20.
Early voting at alternate sites is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, starting Saturday, May 21. The last day of early voting is Saturday, June 4.
This year there are three early voting sites:
- Belen Community Center
- Bosque Farms Public Library
1455 W. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms
- Valencia County Administration Offices
Absentee ballots will also begin going out by mail to voters who have requested them on May 10. An application for an absentee ballot can be submitted at any time.
Voters can call the county clerk’s office at 505-866-2080 to request an application, download it from the county’s website — co.valencia.nm.us/239/Bureau-of-Elections — or request a ballot through the secretary of state’s website — sos.state.nm.us.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Thursday, June 2, and the latest the county clerk can mail an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Friday, June 3.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.