What to expect at the polls?

Who might you encounter inside a polling location and what are their roles and restrictions.

Polling Factoids

Early, in-person voting is booming in New Mexico, in spite of Covid 19. Polling places are safe and sanitary and many voters are using the opportunity to return their absentee ballots using an express line that requires little waiting. Others are simply stepping up to the plate and exercising their most important right. Wait lines vary. To locate polling places in your area, and answer all election questions, trust your County Clerk and Secretary of State for accurate information.

Look for Common Cause/ ACLU Election Protection Monitors stationed outside polling places and call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA if you encounter any problems.

Here’s What to Expect at the Polling Place

Who will be There?

Voters are the VIPS in polling places, but expect many others.  All of those legitimately present should be wearing name badges.

  • Poll Workers — a team of election officials including a presiding judge and two other judges, plus other clerks depending on the size of the polling station. These officials are in charge.
  • Poll Watchers — authorized by election-related organizations and approved by the Secretary of State in advance, these folks take notes on who has (and has not) voted and report back to their party or candidate.  They must be from the county in which the polling place is located.
  • Challengers — Each party may appoint one challenger per polling place to check the actions of the poll workers. They must be approved in advance and be from that county. They may challenge voters who are not registered or who have already voted.  They should not interact with voters, only with poll workers. 
  • Observers — international observers or academics, bearing a letter from the Secretary of State may observe the process.
  • Candidates and campaign workers — can electioneer outside the polling place but they must be at least 100 feet away from the entrance, drop box, or polling station.

What is Not Allowed?

Intimidation or Obstruction of voters is against the law. County and state election officials, the city of Albuquerque, the district attorneys and a team of over 700 election protection volunteers are on alert. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you see anything.

Here’s what Intimidation and Obstruction may look like:

-Blocking the entrance to the polling place

-Violence or threats of violence 

-The wearing of military uniforms or the brandishing of weapons 

-Spreading false information about voting

Harassment– approaching cars, the writing down of license plate numbers, following voters into or out of the polling place.

Law enforcement cannot be in a polling place unless they are voting or for official law enforcement business.

Please stay safe. Wear a mask. Maintain distancing. Do not approach anyone intimidating voters, instead document the incident, and call us!