Doña Ana County is presently unable to supply visually and other disabled voters casting early votes with a special ballot marking machine because a key component for the machine - the programming disc - has not been received from the vendor hired by the state to produce it. The problem is affecting all 33 counties in New Mexico.
Under the states newly implemented voter system, all counties are required to use these machines, known as Automarks, to assist the disabled voter in marking his or her ballot. Visually disabled voters, among others, can use the Automark, which reads the ballot aloud and marks the appropriate spot on the paper ballot inside the machine. The ballot is then inserted into another machine which reads the ballot and tallies the vote.
Amid unexpected heavy turnout for the first day of early voting, Doña Ana County Elections Supervisor Lynn Ellins said he is hopeful the discs will arrive this week. The only early voting site now available is at the Doña Ana County Government Center in Las Cruces.
Ellins said that as of close of business Tuesday, no one who showed up to vote at the Doña Ana County Government Center had asked to use the specialized machines affected by the absence of the programming discs.
Early voting continues at the Doña Ana County Government Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday Nov. 3. Early voting also will be allowed at the Government Center on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beginning Oct. 21, early voting sites also will be opened at Hatch High School, Anthony Community Center, Sunland Park Library and Highland Elementary School. Those sites will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays through Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Absentee ballots have been mailed out to those who already have applied for them.
For questions related to the Nov. 7 General Election, call the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections at (505) 647-7428. From outside the local area, call toll-free to 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7428.
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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.