Early Voting Continues for New Mexico's June Primary Election
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Early and absentee voting is underway for New Mexico's June 7 primary, with some speculating if higher prices at the grocery store and gas pump will influence voter behavior in the predominantly "blue" state.
With midterm elections just six months away, polls show many Americans are struggling with increased prices caused by inflation.
Brian Sanderhoff, political analyst and president of Research and Polling, Inc. said over the decades, the state has trended more blue, but predicts closer outcomes this year.
"Because it's a midterm presidential cycle, with a Democrat in the White House with low approval ratings, the Republicans will, at a minimum, have much more competitive races," Sanderhoff projected.
Democrats have long controlled the State Legislature and occupy most statewide offices. But Republican Susana Martinez held the governor's office for two terms, until Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham won the seat in 2018. Lujan Grisham took an aggressive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected voter outcomes in some states.
This year's primary election is the first time those identifying as independents can vote in the primary election, but they must register with a major party before casting a ballot.
Sanderhoff said it is too soon to know if the change will boost voter turnout, even though the number of registered independents has shot up 26% over the past eight years.
"Registered Independents in general elections, they vote at a much lower rate than do Democrats or Republicans," Sanderhoff explained. "Because some of them are young and just getting into the political process."
In addition to the governor's race, voters in both parties also will decide candidates for attorney general, treasurer and auditor. Early voting at a county clerk's office ends Friday, but additional locations for early voting will open the next day. The state's voter information portal is at sos.state.nm.us.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
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