County preps for primary elections

Freedom New Mexico

Early voting for candidates running in the Roosevelt County June 1 primary election begins May 4 and continues through May 29 at the county courthouse.

Additionally and starting May 15, early votes can be cast at the Portales Public Library.

There are 16 candidates running for positions including sheriff, county assessor, magistrate judge and county commissioners for Districts 3, 4, and 5.

Roosevelt County Clerk Janet Collins said this election features the most candidates that she has seen.

“It is the most I can remember since I’ve been working in this office,” Collins said. “Except for when we first started the hospital district and we had a lot of people register for the hospital district, but we’ve had more people file for commissioner or anything than I can remember.”

County residents have until 5 p.m. May 4 to register with the clerk’s office to vote in the primary.

Only declared Republicans and Democrats can vote in the primary.

“Usually we have a big rush to change parties when one political ticket or the other doesn’t have many others for the primary,” Collins said. “They have to make their choices…28 days before the election.”

For county tax assessor, Republican incumbent Tex Belcher is up against Kenner Carrasco.

Democrat Charles Perez and Republican Linda Short are running unopposed for nominations in the magistrate judge race. Recently, Maxine McCollum dropped out of the race, Collins said.

Nancy Gentry, Scott Burton and David Craig are running for the Republican nomination in the District 4 Commissioner race.

Seeking the Democrat position for the District 5 Commissioner seat are Rodney Payne, Charlie Dobbs and Duane Lee. The Republican contest features Kendall Buzard, Lori Bohm, Allen Deen and Larry Jewell.

Collins estimated about 10,000 registered voters in the county and said she thinks about 35 to 40 percent will turn out to vote.

“In lots of elections we have much less than that,” Collins said. “So, I’m hoping that we will have quite a few turn out and I really don’t have any indication, but it seems like there are more people interested in voting this year, than the past.”

Twenty-one precincts will be open for voters to cast ballots on June 1.

“I really encourage people to vote,” Collins said. “When you look at…how many are registered to vote and of those…how many actually vote. There’s a precious few people who are making decisions for all of us and we had people die for that right to vote and fought for it.”