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A sign pointing toward a voting center located on Albuquerque’s west side in 2020.

How to participate in NM’s 2024 primary elections

Registering, switching parties and voting explained

This story was originally published by Source New Mexico.

New Mexico’s primary election will determine who will appear on the general election ballot this November.

Primary election day will be held on June 4. Early voting begins May 7. These dates can affect whether voters can participate in the primaries being held by political parties in the state.

How to register to vote in the Primary 

If someone wants to register to vote online at NMVote.org or by mail, they must do so by May 7. Alex Curtas, a spokesperson with the New Mexico Secretary of State said that

as long as someone goes in-person to a polling place in their county, they’ll be able to register and vote in the same transaction, Curtas said. This is called same-day voter registration.

The Secretary of State directs eligible voters who want a mail-in ballot to apply online  through the New Mexico Secretary of State website. However, the mail-in ballot application page on the website is not working. Curtas did not respond to follow up questions about the problem with the online system in time for publication. Source New Mexico will update this story online when we hear back.

Anyone can still request a mail-in ballot by filling out this form and returning it to their county clerk.

If someone doesn’t want to register to vote online, they can register to vote through the mail by filling out the official paper application (English / Español) and mailing it to their local county clerk’s office. Mailing addresses for county clerks are found here.

Data shows there are more than 310,000 New Mexicans who are old enough to vote but are not registered.

There are an estimated 1,638,985 people of voting age in New Mexico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As of Jan. 31, there were 1,328,593 people registered to vote in New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.

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How to switch political parties

New Mexico has a “modified open primary,” Curtas said.

Although the primaries are technically closed, a voter must declare a party affiliation and only vote for candidates on that party’s ticket. 

But around 25% of New Mexico voters are not affiliated with one of the three major political parties in the state.

Because of the state’s same-day registration option, those people who aren’t affiliated with a major party can switch their party affiliation and vote on the same day. This is available during general elections, but could also have a drastic impact on party politics during primaries.

Democratic, Republican and Libertarian voters make up the major parties in the state. The Green Party of New Mexico is the only qualified minor party with the Secretary of State.

If someone is undeclared or not affiliated with any major party, they can go to any polling place during early voting or on election day, choose their party and vote in that party’s primary.

However, if someone is already affiliated with a major party, they cannot switch their party and vote on the same day, Curtas said.

Any person can switch their party affiliation online or by mail before May 7, Curtas said.

The latest New Mexico Secretary of State data shows 43.5% of registered voters are Democrats, 31.1% are Republicans and 23.3% are either independent, unaffiliated with any party or declined to select a party.

Another 1.1% are registered Libertarians and 0.9% are marked “other” in the statewide voter statistics.

How to vote

To vote in person, find a local polling place through the NM Secretary of State website. Once registered, voters can see a sample of what their ballot will look like, along with any other information they might need, through checking their registration information on the NW Secretary of State website.

Curtas also encouraged people to vote by mail.

“It’s completely secure, and there are lots of different accountability processes built in there,” Curtas said.

Most counties have multiple secure ballot drop box locations where people can drop off their mail-in ballots, Curtas said. People can also drop off their mail-in ballots at any polling place in the county where they’re registered to vote.

Austin Fisher is a Senior Reporter at Source New Mexico

Source New Mexico is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Source New Mexico maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Shaun Griswold for questions: info@sourcenm.com. Follow Source New Mexico on Facebook and Twitter.

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