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FARMINGTON — Rocinante High School students marched from the school on East 30th Street to the intersection with College Boulevard today to encourage people to vote.

History teacher Steve Clarke said the students asked to do something similar to the "walk-out" movement across the country, during which students leave class to go cast ballots on election day.

Alejandro Cruz and Emily Brozzo, both 18, worked together to organize a demonstration through which students who wanted to participate could make signs and take them to the intersection to encourage people to vote.

"These kids are really energized about this," Clarke said.

The students carried nonpartisan signs urging people to cast a ballot.

By 4:30 p.m., more than 132,593 New Mexicans had voted today, according to numbers from the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office. Nearly 13,700 of them were San Juan County residents.

From the time early voting began until 4:30 p.m. today, 33,410 San Juan County residents had voted, and 527,372 New Mexicans had cast ballots.

More San Juan County residents voted this year than in 2014. In that election, 30,307 San Juan County residents cast ballots.

GOP leads in early returns

San Juan County residents favored Republican candidates in the early voting returns tonight. Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce received nearly 68 percent of the early San Juan County votes, according to unofficial results.

On the local level, Democrat Anthony Allison had a slight lead over Republican incumbent Sharon Clahchischilliage in the state House District 4 race after unofficial early voting results came in.

For final election results, go to daily-times.com.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. There were 33 voting convenience centers throughout the county where people can vote.

Neither Cruz nor Brozzo have registered to vote, but both students say they plan to register before the next election. Brozzo said she didn't know how to register to vote and Cruz said he did not realize how important it is to vote.

Cruz said he felt like he was a small voice in a million people.

"Not a lot of kids realize how much power a vote could be," he said.

In addition to encouraging people to vote, Cruz said he wanted to help change people's ideas about alternative high school students. He said he looked at it as a way to show that Rocinante is not a "school for bad kids."

Cruz said Rocinante is a school where students who were failed by the regular school system are able to express themselves creatively.

While neither Cruz nor Brozz will be voting this year, some of their classmates planned to go to the polls after they got out of school. Katie Morgan, 18, was one of those students.

"I think it kind of gives us a voice to what we want in the future," she said.

Kayla Moffitt, 18, described herself as a neutral voter, but she said it is important for people to exercise their right to vote.

"You never know what's going to happen when you vote," Moffitt said.

After the students marched to the intersection, Clarke said most people driving by had a positive reaction.

"I think we got people's attention," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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