2008 election drew high local turnout

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By Carol A. Clark

Some 10,922 out of 13,186 eligible voters cast ballots in Los Alamos County during the 2008 general election, according to official results posted on the Secretary of State's website.


That equates to a 82.83 percent local voter turnout compared to 68.34 percent statewide results in which 815,363 voters cast ballots out of 1,193,084 eligible voters.


Los Alamos County Election Manager Gloria Maestas praised local poll workers and police officers who helped bring in precinct memory cards shortly after the polls closed on election night, which allowed the clerk’s office to tally the votes in a timely manner.


“We had a stronger turnout this year by about 10 percent compared to the 2004 presidential election in which some 74 percent of the eligible voters turned out,” Maestas said.  


The state election canvass, which is a detailed review and verification of the general election results for all 33 counties in New Mexico, was completed Nov. 25 by the Secretary of State’s office.


The Secretary of State’s office credited the state's county clerks for the “efficient manner” in which they completed their county canvasses, saying their efforts allowed the statewide canvassing to go smoothly.


“I would like to acknowledge my staff for their diligence and persistence in completing this project in a timely manner,” said New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera. “I would especially like to thank the employees from the Bernalillo County and Dona Ana County Clerk’s offices who assisted our agency.”


The State Canvassing Board is chaired by Gov. Richardson and includes Herrera and Chief Justice Edward L. Chavez.


It appears that all facets of the process ran smooth statewide, said Secretary of State spokesman James Flores.


There were a few reports of intermittent long lines, but steady streams of voters seemed to be the norm.


Herrera expressed pride in the efforts set forth by her staff, county clerks and their employees.


“I am proud of all the county clerks, their staff, and all other election officials throughout the state who worked diligently and tirelessly during the previous 18 months to ensure that our democratic right to participate in the electoral process was afforded to all,” Herrera said.


“I would also like to thank my staff for all their hard work during this busy and demanding election cycle. A special thanks to Attorney General Gary King and his staff for being a part of the election process. Collectively, we will continue to improve every election and keep up with the constant changes in state and federal election laws."


The goal, Herrera said, is to continue to educate and communicate election information to the citizens of New Mexico.


Preparation for this year’s general election included a training school for the county clerk’s and their staff hosted by the Secretary of State’s Office, various statewide Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) promoting voter registration and participation, and an enhanced “user friendly” website.


Also, administrative rules and orders, presiding judge training, and open/constant communication with the county clerks helped in ensuring uniformity, she said.


Since June of this year, the Secretary of State’s website has logged in excess of 693,000 viewers, with 260,244 viewers in October alone.


New Mexico generated great media interest nationwide, as is was considered a “swing state.”


Our office fielded hundreds of inquires weekly during the months leading up to the election.


Reporters solicited information about voter registration numbers, voter turnout from previous General Elections, and turnout predictions for this year.


A record number of voters participated this year, with numbers more than 814,000.This number will increase slightly as provisional ballots counts become known.


All election results, including Constitutional Amendments and Bond issues, are available on the Secretary of States website at www.sos.state.nm.us.