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. Mark

    Vermont Dem, is that really true. Then why isn't it on the news. Thank you for that information. Preacher man-HAHAHAHAHAHA. Good one!!!!

    February 11, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Randy - Denver

    He may not have been in the Senate but he did make his opinion known! And this was a time when the President was calling all those who disagreed with his ill-concieved war traitors to America. That sounds like a person of conviction to me! As opposed to someone, whose name does not need to be mentioned, who voted with the way the wind was blowing. Which does not sound like someone with convictions to me. You choose a person of convictions or a person of convienance.

    February 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. NH Independent

    James- I had not heard about that- Can you provide more info or a source? Thanks!

    February 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Jenny

    Yeah, I gotta say, I don't see Obama pulling the race card. But I do see Clinton pulling the cry card a lot. I was alright with Clinton, even though I support Obama, until I saw that she couldn't handle losing.

    February 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. RRH

    CNN you removed my comments. WHY?

    February 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Karen Clopton

    Dont be hatin' on Obama! Check your facts! The Clintons have proven they cant be trusted!

    February 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Somebody better watch New Mexico. Hope they will not do what Washington GOP did. It sure does not take that long to count votes.

    February 11, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Joyce Mosier

    I hear you on that race card remark. He consistently brings that subject up, and yet when Bill Clinton mentions two other men who ran for the office, it's a racial remark. Give me a break! Obama strikes me as a very angry man (much more so than Edwards ever was) and he scares me. I listened to him yesterday for about a half hour and not once did he say what he would do about our problems...not once. But hope??? Oh, yeah. But that's something I can do on my own. Go Hillary! You have more character than he ever thought of having.

    February 11, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Are there plans for the provisional ballots to be counted as well? How connected is Richardson to the counting? Are these people connected solely to the party or are they state workers who are supposed to be non-partisan?

    February 11, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. GivetheBherDue

    Good try Vermont Dem but you're wrong. The Clintons introduced race into the campagin, not Obama. He didn't have to because well – ya know it's pretty obvious he's a blended person.

    February 11, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Kelly

    I believe what they said is they have to confirm the provisional ballots come from registered voters, which takes longer than a simple count. If I had to guess, I would say it favors Sen. Obama because more new voters are coming in for him than for Sen. Clinton.

    February 11, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Wynter (NH)

    Sheesh! The ballot boxes again? Give me a break. They were safeguarded overnight by an official from the caucus. Stop trying to make it so sinister. They are still counting them.

    February 11, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. HBF

    Gosh. I hope Obama will lose. I can't imagine this country having another inexperienced president who will drive the country into a deeper hole than it already is. Bush was inexperienced and he said he would change this country. He was right though. He just didn't say it would be changed for the worse. The president is gonna have to run a country. NOt a church. Just wait and see after obama gets elected. I'm packing up to move to Canada.

    February 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Ryan

    Speaking out clearly and consistently against the war at the exact same time that the war was being authorized by Senators like Hillary Clinton isn't enough?

    Clinton tries to pull these politics all the time. She says that he said he would have voted against the Patriot Act, but he voted for it. What actually happened is that the Patriot Act was voted on before he arrived at the Senate and he spoke out against it. However, the additional votes that the Clinton camp insists that Obama voted for were not new bills approving the Patriot Act, but amending it to be more constitutional. He could have voted against it to show that he disproved of the bill – I agree – but that wouldn't have helped anything, since the bill was already in play and was taking away the civil liberties of Americans.

    Possibly my favorite part about all these arguments by the Clintons is that Hillary voted for everything and more than Obama did, but she still scrutinizes him for it. If anything, it's hilarious.

    February 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Okay--

    why are people so divided over Barack and Clinton. Can't we all see that the tide is not in the Clintons favor this time around!! After campaigning for 16 years- this is not good enough for her. Make not mistake, I was a Clinton supporter but we have to open up to the reality of the game and look at the facts. Race is playing no bigger part of this elections than media spin. Why should some in
    the media not say that Clinton is carrying most of the white women vote and lower income less educated stereotypical white voters who do not think that is possible to see a black (half-black) guy be president of America.
    Why did the media not report the allege money deal with Clinton and his corporate friends over mining and donation money withthe vigor that they analyze Obama's former fund raiser??

    February 11, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Karen

    Obama is all cheap talk not like Hillary!! He is a real hyrociate! Obama is not a honest man and he has no experience !! Please stop thinking twice as Obama tries to make Islamic terriorst to kill us on USA. WAtch Out!! Please don't vote for him!!!

    February 11, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Wynter (NH)

    Who cares about Kansas? Only those that are "stuck" there.

    February 11, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Daniel Ewald

    Canada does paper ballots for each of it's elections, hand counts them, and they know the winner the following day, if not sooner.

    How is their system so much more efficient than ours? Quick turn around, paper trail, no confusing ballot to vote on.

    February 11, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Independent in New Mexico

    Many of the people (including the local media) in this state are commenting that most of the problems are in those areas where Senator Obama had the greatest support. It is no secret that the party's officals are pro Clinton. To put it bluntly, many of my neighbors are very upset at their local party officals.

    February 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Nebraska Independent

    But Obama stated he was against it and made a speech about the reasons why! Reasons that turned out to be right on point. He thought the ENTIRE thing was ridiculous when bin Laden and Al Qaeda were running around free in Afghanistan. It was us taking our eye off the ball, i.e. off of the people who attacked us on 9/11. Clinton was NOT this way. She agreed with Bush in his general opinions about Iraq (though not in his specifics). If that' a not a difference in judgment and wisdom right there, I don't know what is!!

    And now because of Bush's and Clinton's idiocy, we've wasted HUGE amounts of money for nothing in Iraq (beyond destroying their country), while the Al Qaeda slime not only run free, but have become larger and more powerful!!

    Also, it's the Clintons (Jesse Jackson comment anyone) who played the race card. Obama never said much of anything, despite the ridiculous questions (are you black enough, etc.) he's often forced to deal with. The New York Times editorial staff (who endorsed Clinton) in an article trying to figure out what happened even stated that it was the Clintons that drummed up the whole race thing, largely to get people like Vermont Dem here into the Clinton camp.

    February 11, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Randy - Denver

    Joyce the difference is that those two states were told that if they moved the date their votes would not be accepted, they were given plenty of time to change them back to the original dates, your state democratic party decided to throw your votes away and you let them, not anyones elses fault. get over it where were all you tearfull people when this was announced BEFORE the primaries? you should ahve been calling your state party rep and yelling at them now is too late get over it your apathy cost you now live with that result.

    February 11, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Stephina


    I agree!!!

    However, there is no need to worry at all about Obama because regardless of the delegate totals, or the voting tallies the next President of United States will be either Clinton or McCain.

    February 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Alex H

    I'm glad NM is taking their time. They're doing their best to make sure ever ballot that was casted properly/legally/correctly is being counted and who cares how long it takes. The nominee isn't likely to be declared until August anyways, so what's a week or two to make sure the person who actually won is represented with the correct number of delegates. It's not a big deal to take precaution and do a thorough job. Be patient.

    February 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Charlotte

    What ever happened to the NH recount? If Obama were ahead CNN would have already declared Obama the winner. Maybe they want the Headlines. Obama was the first to play the race card with Oprah, MLK etc. He plays it everytime he speaks, didn't you people watch the Jefferson/Jackson speech? The fact that a black man could run for President is part of every speech he gives. He mentions slavery, and dreams all the time. If that isn't a race card I don't know what is.
    I watched his speech Saturday, and I must admit he is one outstanding motivational speaker. He spoke of slavery and how he is where he is because he hoped to be here. How dreams can come true,etc. Other then that and yes we can, I didn't get much out of it. He does preach hope and I can see how he could get so many followers. He has Charisma and not much else.
    What will they, what will they do, what will they do if McCains' running mate is Colin Powell or Condi Rice? Black voters will then choose experience over charisma. What will they do?

    February 11, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Mary

    On Sunday's Meet the Press it was shown Hillary had the most overall votes so far without New Mexico being counted yet.

    Hillary!!! Majority of Popular Vote!!!

    Most states didn't not equate to most votes.

    February 11, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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