State announces new absentee ballot tracking system

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May 14—If you're voting absentee and wondering where your ballot is, you're in luck.

Mail-in voters statewide will be able to track the delivery and return status of their ballots with a new online system called Ballot Scout, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced in a news release Tuesday.

Any voter can request an absentee ballot for the upcoming primary election by next Tuesday, May 21 — the earlier the better — at

People can then visit and enter personal information to view the status of their ballot and sign up for email or text notifications.

Santa Fe County residents can also continue to use a different, text message-based ballot tracking system the Santa Fe County Clerk launched in 2021 at SantaFe.Vote, county Voter Outreach Coordinator Mitchell Cox said. The county system "inspired" the statewide system, Cox said.

"We are extremely happy to see all [New Mexico] voters having access to innovative voter tools available first in Santa Fe County," County Clerk Katharine Clark wrote in a text. "We are already working on even more innovative ideas to support our voters. And maybe we hope to push those tools statewide to make voting even easier for all."

Clark has repeatedly encouraged residents to vote early, either absentee or in person. After May 21, voters should return their ballots at a drop box rather than through the mail because ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day will not be counted, Clark said.

A "small number" of voters received the wrong instructions with their absentee ballots, which directed voters to return the ballots by a date in November, instead of June 4, Cox said.

The mistake occurred because a third-party vendor that prepares and sends out the ballots included the wrong instructions in the first batches of ballots sent out before election workers caught the error, he said. Cox did not know the exact number of voters who received the wrong instructions, but it could have been about 1,000 people, he estimated.

The Clerk's Office identified all of those voters who received the wrong instructions and sent them another letter with the correct instructions, which "should be arriving in people's mailboxes today or tomorrow," Cox said. The correct instructions are also available on the County Clerk's elections website and anyone with questions can call the office at 505-992-9858, Cox said.

Only voters registered with a major party — Democrat, Republican or Libertarian — can vote in the June 4 primary, but minority party voters or voters who declined to state their registration can use same-day registration at any polling place to change their registration to a major party in order to vote.

As of midday Tuesday, about 1,125 people, including over 1,000 Democrats, had voted early, according to the County Clerk's online turnout tracker.

More than 600 people had voted at the County Clerk's office downtown at 100 Catron St. since early voting opened May 7. The site is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays and will be open from 10 a.m-6 p.m. on June 1.