Some primary races are still up in the air
The Democratic primary in the race to replace outgoing Sen. David Ulibarri and the GOP battle for the right to take on Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings in November are still up in the air.
Some primary races – including at least two high-profile legislative contests – are still up in the air.
Maxine Velasquez finished Election Day with a lead of three votes over Clemente Sanchez in the state Senate District 30 Democratic primary race, 1,221 to 1,218. But there are still provisional ballots to consider.
Capitol Report New Mexico has more:
“Ciboloa County was supposed to canvass its 54 provisional and 5 absentee ballots on Friday (June 8th) but Sanchez told Capitol Report New Mexico that the county clerk’s office postponed the count until next Wednesday (June 13).
“Capitol Report New Mexico talked to Valencia County Clerk Sally Perea Friday afternoon, who reported that Sanchez picked up one vote to zero for Velasquez in provisional ballots. So that would reduce Velasquez’s margin to just two votes.
“Rick Palochak, the director of elections in McKinley County, told Capitol Report New Mexico that four provisional ballots qualified in the one precinct in McKinley County that includes Senate District 30 and that his staff will go through all of the county’s provisional ballots at 9 a.m. Monday (June 11).”
The race is already noteworthy because of the unseating of Ulibarri. In addition, Velasquez is a progressive-backed candidate getting lots of help, further raising the profile of the race. And Perea is a Republican challenger her party is excited about. The GOP thinks it has a chance of picking up this seat in November.
There’s at least one other race that may still be up in the air. Also from Capitol Report N.M.:
“There are just 10 votes separating Chad Hamill from Cliff Pirtle and a recount may be in the works but Hamill has already conceded to his fellow Republican in the GOP primary for (a) state Senate seat in the Roswell area.
“‘What it is is what it is,’ Hamill said by telephone to Capitol Report New Mexico Friday morning (June 8). ‘I already called Cliff and congratulated him.’”
But that doesn’t mean the Republican primary in Senate District 32 is over. State law triggers an automatic recount if the election is within on half of one percent of total votes cast. In this case, Pirtle’s 10-vote lead – 1,018 to 1,008 – is one half of one percent.
The race is important because the winner takes on Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, in November, and many believe Jennings is vulnerable to a GOP challenge this year.
‘Many reasons for casting a provisional ballot’
Common Cause New Mexico’s voting rights director, Diane Wood, told NMPolitics.net there are still provision ballots to count in the GOP Senate District 32 primary and other races. The group is spearheading an initiative to ensure every vote is counted.
“There are many reasons for casting a provisional ballot, and those voters still have an opportunity to make their case to the county clerk for why their ballot should be counted,” Wood said. “The county clerk must notify by certified mail each voter whose provisional ballot is not counted and the reason. The notification must be sent within 10 days of the election, and the voter will have until Friday, June 22, to appeal the decision to the county clerk.”
Provisional ballots are those voters fill out if they’re at the wrong polling place or can’t be found on the voter rolls for other locations. While most end up being disqualified, some are usually found to be cast by valid voters and are added to Election Day totals.
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