July 06–Correction appended
Eight counties, including Santa Fe, will recount ballots from the Libertarian Party of New Mexico’s primary election last month as the party looks for every vote it can get to secure a spot on the general election ballot in the race for governor.
State officials approved the recount Thursday at the party’s request after its prospective candidate for governor, Bob Walsh, and prospective candidate for lieutenant governor, Robin Dunn, fell short of the minimum number of votes needed for a place on the November ballot.
The recount, scheduled to begin Wednesday, will decide whether New Mexicans see two choices or three for the state’s top elected office. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is the Republican nominee and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham is the Democratic candidate.
The state canvassing board, which signs off on election results, ordered the recount for Bernalillo, Chaves, Doña Ana, Los Alamos, Otero, San Juan, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties.
While that is only a fraction of the state’s 33 counties, the party only needs a few dozen more votes.
A total of 691 Libertarians cast ballots in the party’s very first primary election in New Mexico.
Dunn and Walsh ran uncontested as write-in candidates and each needed 230 Libertarians to scrawl their names on ballots to win the party’s nominations.
They fell short, getting 175 and 177 votes, respectively.
But the party contends many of its votes may not have been counted because voters must fill in a bubble next to the line for write-in candidates in order for the names to be counted by scanning machines used in the tallying process.
“We think we’re pretty close,” said A. Blair Dunn, the Libertarian candidate for attorney general and son of Robin Dunn.
Of the 691 Libertarians who voted, more than 630 cast ballots in the counties that will be included in the recount.
The party will have to deposit $10,400 with the Secretary of State’s Office before the recount begins. If its candidates cross the threshold of 230 votes, the party will get its money back.
The canvassing board, which includes the governor, secretary of state and chief justice of the state Supreme Court, will meet again July 18 to certify the results of the recount.
Unclear is whether the party might seek a recount in seven other counties.
The party had requested officials recount votes in those counties not by plying through ballots but by reviewing images of ballots scanned by counting machines, arguing this method would be more efficient.
But New Mexico law does not outline any such process and the canvassing board decided against ordering a tally in exactly that fashion.
The party could still ask a judge to order such a recount, however.
David Ring, a lawyer for the party, said leaders would discuss that option.
The party would have to weigh the cost and the hassle against the likelihood that a recount in those counties would turn up a significant number of untallied votes.
This story has been updated to include the following the correction. The canvassing board will reconvene July 18, not July 11.
This article provided by NewsEdge.