If the number of telephones calls to the Lincoln County Clerk's office Tuesday is any indication, voters are beginning to realize that the general election is not far away.
Clerk Rhonda Burrows said her crew was flooded with callers asking about everything from early voting dates, how to obtain absentee ballots to dismay at missing the voter registration deadline and worry about voter identification requirements at the two early voting sites or the six voting centers on election day, Nov. 6.
"State statutes have not changed," on what is required to identify a voter, Burrows said. "A voter simply is required to state their name, their address as registered and their date of birth. As a matter of convenience, they may provide their voter information card or another form of identification. Many of the voter information cards we mailed out have bar codes on them, which speeds up the process."
Burrows reported that 14,240 voters are registered for the general election, broken down to 7,816 Republicans, 3,637 Democrats, 2,320 declined to state and 467 registered in minor parties. The total registered voter number represents slightly more than an 8 percent increase over the 2010 general election with 13,151 voters. Republican registrations increased by 6 percent, Democratic registration by less than 1 percent, and the combined declined and minor parties by 2.3 percent.
Burrows explained that the state statute changed on the party registration issue. Previously, if someone didn't check a party or the "decline" box on their registration, her office would send paperwork back for the form to be completed. But under the new law, unless the voter being registered checks a box, he or she automatically is slotted into the "declined to state" category, Burrows said.
Absentee ballots are available through the County Clerk's office in the county courthouse in Carrizozo. Early voting begins Oct. 20, at the Ruidoso Senior Center and Oct. 22, at the County Clerk's Office. The Ruidoso center will be available for voting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The Carrizozo office will be open for voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., only on Nov. 3, when early voting closes.
On Nov. 6, voting for all precincts will be possible at any of the six voting centers in the county, one in each of the five municipalities and the sixth in the Hondo area. The centers are located at Corona Village Hall, 461 Main Street; Lincoln County Courthouse, 300 Central Avenue, Carrizozo; Capitan High School, 150 Forest Street; Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Drive off Mechem Drive at the U.S. Post Office turn; Ruidoso Downs Senior Center, 26337 U.S. 70; and Hondo High School, 111 Don Pablo Lane.