N.M. Votes Still Being Tallied
By Garance Franke-Ruta
The Land of Enchantment could use a prince to awaken it from its slumbers. Or, perhaps, new voting technology. The only Super Tuesday state yet to name a winner said today that it might not be able to announce whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama won until Feb. 15 -- a full 10 days after the balloting.
Holding up the verdict are 17,276 provisional paper ballots, issued by the state Democratic Party at the polls to accommodate the higher-than-expected turnout.
In a year when every Democratic primary and caucus has challenged or broken state records, New Mexico Democratic Party chair Brian Colon had been predicting his state would draw 30,000 to 40,000 -- less than half the number of voters for 2004's Democratic caucus.
Instead, more than 153,000 came to cast ballots -- 50 percent more than in 2004.
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won 67,011 of those votes (43.43 percent) to Obama's 65,945 (42.74 percent), according to the state party -- leaving the race so tight that the provisional ballots could flip it one way or the other.
Provisional ballots were issued to those who either had requested an absentee ballot in the past, came to the wrong site, or were not otherwise on the registered voter lists at the election site they attended. These ballots accounted for more than 10 percent of ballots issued statewide, and are now being examined and tallied by an accounting firm in Albuquerque.
Twenty-six delegates are at stake in New Mexico, though by the time results are known, any bragging rights for the win may have long since dissipated -- Washington, Nebraska, and Louisiana are holding Democratic caucuses and a primary on Saturday, and on Tuesday, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia go to the polls.
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