Voters who have yet to cast ballots in the New Mexico primary election have several options to get the job done before it's too late, as all ballots must be in when polls close at 7 pm.
What should they not do? They should not rely on the US Postal Service at this point.
That's the word from New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who appeared Thursday afternoon in a Facebook live address to check in with voters in what she says has been and will continue to be a "crazy time."
Election administrators had asked the state Supreme Court last month to close all polling places and allow instead for all-mail voting due to the public health threats posed by in-person voting. The court ruled against the request on legal grounds and instead encouraged officials to utilize absentee voting.
The process requires a voter to first request a ballot, then wait for it to arrive via mail and return in the same way or drop it at a designated location. In-person absentee voting and early voting are an alternative means that cuts out the mail and avoids the risk of an unexpected event on the designated Election Day.
As of Friday's report, more than 200,000 New Mexicans had already returned ballots in the election or voted early at in-person locations. In Santa Fe County, that included 16,973 Democrats, 2,072 Republicans and 34 Libertarians.
But thousands more ballots have been mailed to voters and not yet returned to county clerks.
"I really would not advise putting it back in the mail unless that is your only course of action," Toulouse Oliver said in the video.
Instead, she told voters to seal the ballot inside its designated return envelope (don't forget to sign this part and provide the requested details) and deliver it to a drop box at any polling location or the clerk's office. Reminder: New Mexico requires use of a face covering in public.
Toulouse Oliver said her staff and county clerks from around the state met with local representatives of the postal service and learned the agency is planning overtime shifts for the remaining days to the election. County clerks who are dealing with what she called the "huge amount of mail to process" can begin tabulating mail votes at 7 am Tuesday.
Saturday is the final day of early voting, and completed ballots can also be delivered between 10 am until 6 pm at the following Santa Fe County locations:
Abedon Lopez Community Center – 155A Camino De Quintana, Santa Cruz Christian Life Church – 121 Siringo Road, Santa Fe
Town of Edgewood Administrative Office – 171A State Road 344
Edgewood Max Coll Corridor Community Center – 16 Avenida Torreon, El Dorado Pojoaque County Satellite Office – 5 W. Gutierrez – Ste. 9, Pojoaque Pueblo Plaza Santa Fe County Fair Building – 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe
Southside Library – 6599 Jaguar Dr., Santa Fe
Ballots may also be returned on Tuesday from 7 am to 7 pm at any voting convenience center below. Voters who requested a ballot by mail but never received it can also sign an affidavit and receive a ballot at these centers.
CHRISTIAN LIFE CHURCH 121 Siringo Road
EL CAMINO REAL ACADEMY 2500 S Meadows Road
GALISTEO COMMUNITY CENTER 35 Avenida Vieja, Galisteo
GLORIETA PASS FIRE STATION #2 366 Old Denver Hwy, Glorieta
GONZALES COMMUNITY SCHOOL 851 W Alameda St.
LA CIENEGA COMMUNITY CENTER 136 Camino San Jose
MAX COLL CORRIDOR COMMUNITY CENTER 16 Avenida Torreon
MONTEZUMA LODGE 431 Paseo de Peralta,
NAMBE COMMUNITY CENTER 180 A State Road 503
NINA OTERO COMMUNITY SCHOOL 5901 Herrera Road
POJOAQUE MIDDLE SCHOOL 1797 State Road 502, Pojoaque
SALAZAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 1231 Apache Ave.
SANTA FE COUNTY FAIR BUILDING 3229 Rodeo Road
SANTA FE COUNTY FIRE STATION (LA TIERRA) 6 Arroyo Calabasas Road
ST. JOHN'S METHODIST CHURCH 1200 Old Pecos Trail
TESUQUE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 1555 Bishop's Lodge Road
TOWN OF EDGEWOOD ADMIN OFFICE 171 A State Road 344, Edgewood
TONY E. QUINTANA ELEMENTARY 20 E. Sombrillo Road Highway 106, Espanola
TURQUOISE TRAIL CHARTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 13 A San Marcos Loop
The last day to to register in person is Saturday, May 30, but only from 10 am until 6 pm with a photo ID at the Santa Fe County Clerk's Office, 100 Catron Street.
Voters can check the status of their ballots, including confirmation that a mailed ballot as arrived at the county clerk, by reviewing the state's voter portal.