Serving the High Plains

Public health order establishes polling restrictions

New Mexico Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel has issued a public health order establishing social distancing restrictions for polling places during the fall election season.

“Election facilities must remain accessible to the public under the state’s election code, and as such we’ve got to ensure that everyone casting a ballot may do so safely,” Kunkel said. “There is still a risk of COVID-19 transmission no matter where we go. Our job is to make these facilities as safe as possible while strongly encouraging New Mexicans to take every precaution while casting their ballot this fall.”

Under Kunkel’s order, polling locations shall allow only 25% of the maximum occupancy of the location or four voters at any one time, whichever is greater.

Polling locations that are mobile units shall allow only two voters at a time.

Polling locations shall ensure voters do not come within 6 feet of each other, and poll officials and staff are directed to wash and sanitize their hands frequently while routinely cleaning all surfaces and reusable writing implements.

Poll officials and staff are directed to ensure any voters waiting outside of a polling location maintain 6 feet of physical distance from each other and avoid person-to-person contact.

Other important election information:

• New Mexicans are encouraged to register to vote or update their voter registrations online at before Oct. 6.

• The deadline for in-person registration with a verified ID is Oct. 31.

• Absentee ballot requests can be made online through the Secretary of State’s website at Absentee ballots will be mailed daily from Oct. 6 to Oct. 29. Oct. 20 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot. Voters should mail their completed absentee ballot back no later than Oct. 27 to ensure it arrives to their county clerks before 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

• In-person early voting begins Oct. 6 at the Quay County Clerk’s Office and continues through Oct. 31.

• Election Day is Nov. 3, with in-person polling locations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, call the Quay County Clerk’s Office at 575-461-0510.

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