Officials pleased with early voter turnout

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

There’s not an exceptionally large turnout, but officials are pleased with the participation they’ve seen leading up to Tuesday’s primary.

“It doesn’t seem to me like it’s that drastically off for a gubernatorial primary,” Curry County Clerk Coni Jo Lyman said. “There are significant numbers, I’m not disappointed.”

Saturday was the final day for early voting prior to Tuesday’s primary election day.

Only voters registered with a political party can cast ballots.

Going into Friday, Curry County had more than 700 early voters between the Curry County Courthouse and an alternate polling site at North Plains Mall. The county has about 19,000 registered voters.

In Roosevelt County, about 460 had voted early. The county has about 10,000 registered voters.

“I think we’re having a really good turnout for the primary,” said Roosevelt County Clerk Janet Collins, who noted ballots so far show about three times as much participation from Repub-licans as Democrats.

With the new decade, this year’s general elections will allow the party in control to redraw districts for the upcoming 10 years. The process is approved by both houses of the Legislature, but can be vetoed by the governor. A two-thirds majority is required to override a redistricting veto.

Roosevelt and Curry counties, however, can’t do much to change the Legislature makeup, with only one seat that can change party hands in November.

Democrats hold that seat — District 63 — which Joe Campos is vacating to run for lieutenant governor, and it has Democrats Jose Griego of Clovis and George Dodge of Santa Rosa seeking the nomination against unopposed Fort Sumner Republican Melinda Russ.

There is no Democratic opposition in the remaining positions, though Anna Crook is facing Wade Lopez in the Republican primary to keep her District 64 House seat.

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Kent Cravens said at a Thursday forum in Clovis that having control of redistricting has lasting effects.

“I wake up every morning thinking about redistricting, and I go to bed every night thinking about redistricting.”

However, Cravens also said at the forum that his No. 1 focus is jobs. He’s far from alone, with April’s state unemployment rate at 8.8 percent.

Brian Col