Doña Ana County



Acting on a court order from Third Judicial District Judge Robert Robles, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s office opened all absentee ballot boxes Friday, Oct. 25, 2002, and compared the coded precinct information on 424 ballots to see whether the voters voted in the correct races.

Twenty ballots were found to have been issued in error. All 20 affected voters were sent new absentee ballots on the orders of Interim County Clerk J. Joe Martinez.

With representatives of both major political parties, the media and a Third Judicial District representative looking on, Bureau of Elections personnel inspected all outer envelopes in the ballot boxes and visually inspected the unopened, coded envelopes to determine which ones were sent in error.

By comparing voter registration information to coding on the outside of each absentee ballot, the Bureau of Elections staff was able to tell which voters received the wrong ballot. Correct ballots were then mailed first-class to each affected voter, along with an explanation of the discrepancy. The incorrect ballots are being stored in a separate ballot box. If any voter fails to return a corrected ballot, the old ballot will be used to record the voter’s selections in races to which s/he was entitled to vote.

“This was a clerical error that was discovered in a timely manner. We didn’t know the extent of the problem until we opened the ballot boxes,” Martinez said. “I’m glad it was a small number of ballots and that we were able to catch it in time for these people to have the opportunity to vote correctly.”

For more information, call the Bureau of Elections at (505) 647-7428. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7428.