While voter turnout in city elections has been historically low, it appears the requests for absentee ballots is on the increase in Albuquerque before next month's election.
The city clerk’s office began distributing absentee ballots on September 1st. Completed applications have been accepted in the office since September 9th.
Four early in-person voting sites open tomorrow. Voters who show up at these locations, the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, City of Albuquerque Records Center, APS City Center in ABQ Uptown, and at Ladera Plaza, have until 5pm to cast their ballots. Anyone voting in person must present photo identification.
City Clerk Randy Autio told us he's processing about 1000 requests for absentee ballots everyday, and staffers had to work over the weekend to clear a backlog of requests for applications. Autio said they are caught up.
Unlike state-wide, or county elections, voters have to complete an additional step before getting their application for an absentee ballot.
Strangely, this official form, called the Absentee Ballot Application Request Form, has to be completed before you can even apply for an absentee ballot.
And, if you don't request it online, via email, in person, or by calling 311, you better hope the postal system in your neighborhood operates quickly and efficiently, because all absentee ballots have to be received by the city clerk by 7pm on October 6th. The last day to cast an absentee ballot in person, at the clerk's office, is October 2nd.
"The City of Albuquerque is following the same system it has always followed," said Under State Municipal Election Law there was a request required before sending the application out,” said Autio.
That’s because the city operates under State Municipal Election Laws which require one additional step compared to other county elections. In order to vote absentee in next month’s election, voters in the Duke City are required to complete both a request for application form and an application for absentee ballot before receiving an actual absentee ballot.
“It appears in this election season the absentees become popular with the campaigns in order to get the vote out, which is great expect that it puts a great strain on our office to respond quickly,” said Autio. “Campaigns are walking the neighborhoods and getting requests and bringing them in, so they’re coming in all kinds of different forms.”
Correction: The original post incorrectly reported the last day the clerk would receive an absentee ballot is October 2nd. In fact, that is the last day to cast an absentee ballot in person at the clerk's office. Absentee ballots will be accepted at City Hall until 7pm on October 6th.