Sandoval County commissioners approved a reduced number of voting sites unanimously in a special county commission meeting Monday.
They decided to reduce the number of voter convenience centers to 31, due to concerns over COVID-19.
The resolution said there is a potential for poll workers to contract the virus, so limiting the number of polling locations and encouraging citizens to vote through absentee ballots would limit the risk.
“The (state) supreme court was asked to change the way the election was held in 2020. What happened is that the supreme court has authorized the mailing of absentee applications but not of absentee ballots. Therefore, an election needs to be held on the primary at physical voting locations,” said Sandoval County attorney Robin Hammer.
County Clerk Eileen Garbagni said absentee voting begins May 5. She asked the commissioners at their regular meeting April 16 to revise the number of election sites established last year.
In 2019, the bureau of elections director presented the number of polling places that would best serve the county, said Hammer.
“But the state law says that you can consolidate precincts into groups of 10, and that is what this resolution does, is to make as few voting locations as possible and still comply with the law. And it does include the pueblos as a distinct precinct,” Hammer said.
The approved locations are available for early voting as well as on Election Day. In the Rio Rancho area, they are:
• Sandoval County Administration Building, 1500 Idalia Road, Building D; and
• Bernalillo High School gym, 148 Spartan Alley.
• Corrales Recreation Center, 500 Jones Road; and
• Sandia View Christian School, 24 Academy Lane.
• Community of Joy Lutheran Church, 841 Saratoga Drive;
• Charity Baptist Church, 5501 Obregon Road;
• Our Lady Queen of Angels Liberal Catholic Church, 1701 Tulip Road;
• Rio Rancho Middle School, 1600 Loma Colorado Blvd.;
• Colinas Del Norte Elementary, 1001 Night Sky Ave.;
• Soul Rio Church, 2003 Southern Blvd.;
• Plaza at Enchanted Hills, 3575 NM 528; and
• Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, 1041 Commercial Drive.
• Placitas Community Library, 453 NM 165.
Applications for absentee ballots can be found at sos.state.nm.us, by clicking on “Voting and elections” in the menu and then on “Voter Information.” Applications can be mailed.
Absentee ballot requests for the 2020 Primary Election will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. May 28. The primary election is June 2.
Sandoval County is accepting donations of personal protective equipment for poll workers from May 5 through June 2, county spokesman Stephen Montoya said. The public can donate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also during the meeting, county commissioners unanimously approved the use of electronic signatures until they convene in person again.
The next commission meeting will be at 4 p.m. May 7 via live stream on the county website. Public comments can be submitted on the website.