February 11th, 2008
10:10 AM ET
10 years ago

New Mexico Dems: Still counting after all this time

New Mexico is still determining who won its Democratic primary.

New Mexico is still determining who won its Democratic primary.

(CNN) - They're counting votes in New Mexico - still.

Six days after Super Tuesday, when millions of voters cast ballots in 24 states and America Samoa, the winner remains in doubt in the Democratic presidential caucus in New Mexico.

Volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico have been working 16 hours a day – in shifts – to try to figure out whether Democrats there preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York or Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the state party said Sunday.

"We know it is urgent to get these results completed," Chairman Brian S. Colon of the Democratic Party of New Mexico said in a statement Sunday.

The national media spotlight has moved on to primaries and caucuses in other states, including contests Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Yet 227 volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico are still slogging through provisional ballots - votes cast by people whose names did not appear on lists of eligible voters.

Election rules let people cast provisional ballots that will be counted as long as officials verify that the person is eligible to vote.

As it stands now in New Mexico, Clinton leads Obama by 1,066 votes out of about 154,000 cast, according to the state Democratic Party. That total does not include 17,276 provisional ballots.

The party faithful have been going through those provisional ballots – under the watchful eye of Clinton and Obama representatives – to determine how many are valid.

The party has so far determined that 2,778 provisional ballots should be counted as votes for one candidate or the other, it said Sunday. Once party volunteers finish verifying or rejecting provisional ballots – a process called "qualifying" – then they will actually tabulate results.

The final count will determine how many of 26 delegates will go to Clinton and how many to Obama. The razor thin margin so far suggests that the two candidates could split the delegates or that one will emerge with an advantage of one or two delegates.

That's not much when you consider that a candidate needs 2,025 delegates to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, but the extremely close race makes the New Mexico outcome the subject of more than academic curiosity – if only slightly.

The latest CNN estimates show Clinton with 1,148 delegates compared with 1,121 for Obama.

Those numbers will change after the Democratic contests on Tuesday – and after the Democrats in New Mexico finally finish counting the votes cast in that state.

"It's key that we count the vote of every registered voter," Colon said Sunday.

soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Chris, Middletown, CT

    How is this possible?? To call each precinct and ask for a tally....doesn't take this long....

    February 11, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |

    It's absolutely unacceptable that New Mexico would still be counting votes.

    Even California came back with results on Super Tuesday earlier than expected. Now you expect us to believe that out of all the states with elections on Super Tuesday, where Bill Clinton just happened to visit before Super Tuesday, little old New Mexico can't seem to get it together?


    Well, at least this time, the Governor isn't related to any of the Presidential Candidates.

    February 11, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Rosa

    Is this the first time New Mexico has ever had an election and had to count results?

    February 11, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Don Lee, Cloudcroft, NM

    I have said all along that Democrats just cannot count!

    February 11, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. Tony

    I don't trust NM. It's just looks kind of shady. Obama was ahead before things went Kaput!

    Afterall Bill Clinton and Richardson watched the superbowl on the same sofa. Kinda reminds me of Jeb Bush rigging FL for his brother.

    Obama 08!!!

    February 11, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  6. Tony

    I don't trust NM. It's just looks kind of shady. Obama was ahead before things went Kaput! NM population is not all that great...what's the delay for.

    Afterall Bill Clinton and Richardson watched the superbowl on the same sofa. Kinda reminds me of Jeb Bush rigging FL for his brother.

    Obama 08!!!

    February 11, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. Laverne Miller

    This is disgusting.Here in Las Vegas Nevada; it was a joke too...The Culinary Union bosses endorsed Obama; forgetting to get their members agreement; then held caucuses in the Casinos and Casino owners allowed these employees time off from work to vote in the Casino then return to work..It backfired; The employees revolted and voted for Clinton; as they felt no one has the right to tell them how to Vote..Thats why Hillary won Nevada.Lee Miller

    February 11, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Funny how the numbers change with every news story even though the figures STILL don't include the provisional votes.... and what about the Rio Arriba County ballot box that was removed from the polling site before the votes were counted?

    February 11, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  9. bail

    Wow- people voted but their names are not actually on state rosters.

    Can anyone say illegal immigration.

    February 11, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. sabine

    This election year has gotten my eyes glued to the television like never before. I hope Obama wins!

    February 11, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. AC Thomas


    If so why is so called 800 super-delegates determining who is the choice of Democratic Party nominee?

    What about the millions of PEOPLE (BY THE PEOPLE) voted for Obama, and Clinton?

    What about the millions of dollars donated by common people to change Washington.

    Do you really think the 800 so called super-delegates are not influenced by special interest groups (PAC)? So what about the FOR THE PEOPLE?

    If Democratic Party stands for the social equality what moron created the super-delegates?

    February 11, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Jay

    Let's see... 17,276 provisional ballots. 227 volunteers. That is 76 provisional ballots that each volunteer has to verify. How long could it possibly take?!

    February 11, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Joyce Mosier

    EVERY VOTE MUST COUNT! This is still the USA and the Democratic party has no right to withhold from the election process the votes of those citizens who voted in the Florida and Michigan primaries. LET US BE HEARD!!! Exactly what difference does it make if our primaries were on the 2nd or on the 9th; it was a fairly contested primary process. I am 75 years old and cannot believe that these few people can take my vote away. What has our party become? Dictators??? GIVE ME MY VOTE!!!

    February 11, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Don

    I'm sorry, but how does it takes 227 volunteers (working 16 hour-days) 6 days to count votes? There are plenty states with more votes to count and got those done within 24-hours. Could it be because Obama's and Clinton's tallies are so close? I hope they're taking their time for accuracy purposes and not another ballot-scandal.

    February 11, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Cheryl

    This is a bit ridiculous. What are they using in NM an abacus to count the votes? Go ahead and project the winner Clinton and get it over with. NO BIGGIE! Obama still has the big MO and will MOW thru Potomac Tuesday and roll on thru the rest of the month of February. GO OBAMA!

    February 11, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Tomorrow will be a WEEK

    This is just one of the examples that illustrates how laughable this country's election process is.

    February 11, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Sam in Hershey, PA

    I smell a scandal!

    February 11, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Dennis

    What is the status of the three ballot boxes that were kept overnight by the Democratic party chair (or poll workers, depending on whose story you believe)?

    February 11, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Nancy Levin

    What are the provisions for the "provisional count"? Ask
    all voters in that category to come forth and vote again!

    February 11, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. catherine

    Caucus is such a bad idea! I and many of my friends can not make it because we must go to work! Many old women can not make because they dare not to drive. Why could not we just use primaries instead of caucus? ALL voices from ALL people should be heard. Not just those students and wealthy people who do not have to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am surprised no media is talking about this, why caucus is unfair is for Hillary Clinton. Washington state Dem hold both a Dem primary and a Dem caucus. Ironically, the primary is linked to no delegates and only the caucus is. Then do you ask people to vote in primary then??? I cast my vote for primary and then did not go to caucus, because no one told me primary did not count!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Democrats are ruining Hillary and ruining their 2008.

    February 11, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. edna semon

    i think new mexico ought to have those ballots counted by now. what is this another fla. those votes could be very important right now for hillary clinton.

    lets get on with it.

    February 11, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Sam

    Who cares? They are going to split the delegates anyway.

    February 11, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Jessica, Rolling Meadows, IL

    It was easy for Obama to oppose the war back in 2003, especially since he was not in the US Senate. So even though he verbally opposed the war, his opposition was his own. Obama did not have the same stresses as those who were in the US Senate and lost sleep over should we go to war or not in 2003. So for him to compare his stance on the war to Hillary's is unbalanced. What Obama thought about 9-11 and the pending war was not an importance back in 2003. So people do your research and someone please tell that man to stop saying I oppose the war.. Who cares you weren't in the US Senate in 2003. Shut UP

    February 11, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Roger from Miami

    What an interesting concept! When you have a narrow election, you make sure to count (and recount) every ballot!

    I wonder what Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, and President Bush think about this wacky idea.

    February 11, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. John

    this is unacceptable – you can bet if Obama was leading in New Mexico they would have claimed his victory already but because Hillary's ahead they're no done? How many days does it take to total this up?

    February 11, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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