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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The vote in New Mexico

Just once, just once, it would be nice if New Mexico could have results from an election in a timely way. Everywhere else in the country, they've got enough precincts reporting within five seconds of polls closing that they (by which I mean CNN et. al) can tell you a projected winner. In New Mexico, the polls don't even close when they close and the NEXT DAY we still don't know who won. Why? Why is it so hard?
1. No one correctly estimated turnout, although I will note that when I interviewed the party's executive director, Laura Sanchez for last week's paper, one of things she said went wrong in '04 was that the party underestimated turnout and didn't have enough ballots and that was one of the things they had learned from last time. Apparently not.
2. I haven't read much about this, but people were very confused about where to vote because they were voting in a different place than usual. OK, that's happened before; consolidated districts are nothing new. The real confusion, it seems, stems from the voterview look up on the Secretary of the State's Office. When you use it, it brings up your name and your voting place, and next to that is a number. That number is actually your precinct number. But there's also a list of which districts you live in. I personally had no trouble understanding this, but it was pointed out to me that unless you really understood various things about voting districts/precincts etc., it could be confusing. Plus, after you get that number, then you had to go back to the Democratic Party (or SFR) to find out where you voted in this race. So, you know, not my idea of a huge mental challenge, but I can see how, if you haven't spent every minute thinking about this stuff, it could be. I know I spent a decent amount of time yesterday taking calls from people who were conufsed or lost and helping them figure out where to vote. (Does this count as my good deed for at least this week?)

Our election-watching event well, I thought.