Early votes more than triple 2008 numbers

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

Portales officials expect a good turnout for today’s municipal election, especially if early voting is any indication.

City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said 296 have voted early, compared to 94 early voters in the 2008 municipal races.

“If that’s an indication, I’m going to say there’s a good turnout (expected today),” she said.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Martinez-Terry said 487 voters cast ballots in 2008, only 9 percent of the 5,400 registered voters in Portales.

“I doubt we’ll be overwhelmed (today),” Martinez-Terry said, “but it will be more.”

In Clovis, the numbers are significantly down from the previous municipal election. On Monday, 297 had cast ballots early with 15,189 registered voters in the city.

“If the early turnout is any indication (turnout will be down,” City Clerk Leighann Melancon said. “We had 1,152 people early and absentee (in 2008).”

The reasons for the rise and fall are obvious in each city.

Portales’ 2008 election featured only two contested city council races. This time around, there’s only one contested city council race — Ward B, where Oscar Robinson and Antonio Sanchez are running. But four are vying for the mayor position left vacant when Orlando Ortega decided to not seek a third term.

In Clovis’ 2008 election, turnout was at 33.6 percent — the highest in six years — between a six-person race for mayor, four city commission races and a ballot issue to allow Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants.

This year, there are four city commission races — including District 2, where Len Vohs is running uncontested — and a municipal judge race. Based on early numbers, it seems unlikely this year’s election in Clovis will approach the 5,303-vote total of 2008.