BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) — If you are planning to vote early for the June 5th primary you might have the polling place to yourself.
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says a week into early and absentee voting, turnout is downright sluggish.
“We’re not quite at 50 percent of where we were this time four years ago so ya know that is a little interesting,” Toulouse Oliver said.
UNM Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Gabriel Sanchez said low turnout early has a lot to do with the top of the ballot.
“We already know who’s going to be running, an incumbent president on the democratic side and Mitt Romney on the republican side, so you just don’t have competitive primaries driving a lot of interest and spending a lot of money with a lot of TV ads,” said Dr. Sanchez.
With Heather Wilson a shoo-in for the republican senate nod and Janice Arnold Jones unopposed for the republican house nomination that is playing a big part too.
Historically republicans make up more of the early and absentee voters.
“If you’ve got tough, dramatic, competitive races, turnout is typically higher and in this context where you have people that are unopposed there’s no reason to go vote,” Sanchez said.
Most of the excitement is on the democrats side especially in the house race as Eric Griego, Martin Chavez and Michelle Lujan Grisham duke it out and Sanchez still thinks the senate race could get interesting.
“The TV ads have just started in CD1, they kind of started late in the game, same story with Heinrich and Balderas, that race could be drama-filled and action-packed but it just hasn’t happened yet,” said Sanchez.
Both Sanchez and Toulouse Oliver believe turnout will go up when more early voting locations open up this weekend.
So far only 500 people have voted early in-person in Bernalillo County and only 4,000 have requested absentee ballots.
Early voting runs through June 2nd.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.