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Permanent absentee voter list application only available by paper for now

A secure ballot drop box for absentee ballots sits in front of the Bernalillo County headquarters in downtown Albuquerque.
Nash Jones
A secure ballot drop box for absentee ballots sits in front of the Bernalillo County headquarters in downtown Albuquerque.

This is the first year that New Mexicans can choose to receive an absentee ballot for every election. Previously, they had to submit a new request each time. However, the online application is not yet available.

Spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s Office Alex Curtas said the online application to request an absentee ballot for the June primary election will be open soon.

“We’re hoping to get it up probably next week,” he said. “If not, the week after.”

Earlier this year, he said he thought it may be up by mid-March, but said Tuesday his office is still working out some kinks to add a new feature — opting in to the new permanent absentee voter list.

There are still some improvements being made, some testing that’s being done, and so that’s why we still just don’t have it open quite yet,” he said.

They’ll conduct the final tests this weekend, according to Curtas. In the meantime, voters can fill out a paper application and send it in by mail.

Courtesy Secretary of State's Office
A checkbox on the paper absentee ballot application updated Dec. 2023 allows voters to opt in to the permanent absentee voter list.

According to a KUNM review, only three counties have the updated version — which includes a checkbox to be added to the permanent list — available for download on their website. Those are Bernalillo, Los Alamos and San Juan Counties. However, the Secretary of State’s website says an up-to-date paper application posted there can be mailed back to their office or dropped off at any county clerk’s office.

Curtas said once the online application is up, it’ll stay open year-round from here on out, rather than only for select windows of time before each election.

Absentee ballot applications are due May 21 ahead of the June 4 primary election. County clerks will send the first round of ballots to those who’ve requested them on May 7 as early voting kicks off.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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