New Mexico Statutes Chapter 1. Elections § 1-6-14. Handling mailed ballots

A. At any time after mailed ballots have been sent to voters and until the fifth day before the election, the county clerk may convene an election board to meet during the normal business hours of the office of the county clerk to qualify the mailed ballots that are returned.  Before opening an official mailing envelope, the presiding judge and the election judges shall determine that the required information has been completed on the reverse side of the official mailing envelope.

B. If the voter's signature or the required voter identification is missing, the presiding judge shall write “Rejected” on the front of the official mailing envelope.  The judge or election clerk shall enter the voter's name in the signature rosters or register and shall write the notation “Rejected--Missing Signature” or “Rejected--Missing Required Voter Identification” in the “Notations” column of the register.  The presiding judge shall place the official mailing envelope unopened in a container provided for rejected ballots.

C. A lawfully appointed challenger may view the official mailing envelope and may challenge the ballot of any mailed ballot voter for the following reasons:

(1) the official mailing envelope has been opened by someone other than the voter prior to being received by the absent voter election board;

(2) the official mailing envelope does not contain a signature;

(3) the official mailing envelope does not contain the required voter identification;  or

(4) the person offering to vote is not a voter as provided in the Election Code.

D. If a challenge is upheld by unanimous vote of the presiding judge and the election judges, the official mailing envelope shall not be opened but shall be placed in a container provided for challenged ballots.  If the reason for the challenge is satisfied by the voter before the conclusion of the county canvass or as part of an appeal, the official mailing envelope shall be opened and the vote counted.

E. If the official mailing envelope has been properly subscribed and the voter has not been challenged, the judges or election clerks shall enter the voter's name and residence address as shown on the official mailing envelope and shall make the appropriate notation opposite the voter's name in the “Notations” column of the register.

F. For any election in which fewer than ten thousand mailed ballots were sent to the voters of a county, only between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the five days preceding the election, and beginning at 7:00 a.m. on election day, under the personal supervision of the presiding election judge, shall the election judges open the official mailing envelope and the official inner envelope and insert the enclosed ballot into an electronic voting machine to be registered and retained until votes are counted and canvassed following the closing of the polls on election night.

G. For any election in which ten thousand or more mailed ballots were sent to the voters of a county, only during the regular business hours of the office of the county clerk during the two weeks preceding the election, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the four days preceding the election and beginning at 7:00 a.m. on election day, under the personal supervision of the presiding election judge, shall the election judges open the official mailing envelope and the official inner envelope and insert the enclosed ballot into an electronic voting machine to be registered and retained until votes are counted and canvassed following the closing of the polls on election night.

H. It is unlawful for a person to disclose the results of a count and tally or the registration on a voting machine of mailed ballots prior to the later of the closing of the polls or the deadline for receiving mailed ballots pursuant to Section 1-6-10 NMSA 1978 .

I. Mailed ballots shall be counted and tallied, where possible, on an electronic voting machine as provided in the Election Code.

J. If a mailed ballot is rejected for any reason, it shall be handled in the same manner as a disqualified provisional paper ballot in accordance with the Election Code.


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