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. donna hanna

    I want a president who will bring home the work form those trader company's who sent there companys over seas. I'm tired of getting items that could hurt or kill our children. I want a president who is not afraid to tell them they will be paying a high tax if they keep there company's over sea's and keeping the work over there so they can keep the pay below minimum wage. we are the people buying there products.

    I want a president who will make medical aff ordable .For not only the rich but the poor as well , when i say poor people , i mean the people who make minimum wage. i know a lady who can't get help with medical though welfare because she get's 50 dollars over there limit. she is on ssi, has cancer and can not afford her meds.,what is that. the problem is our goverment only cares about you if you are rich.

    I want a president who will bring jobs to our country. so eveyone can work ,live. not have to decied weather to eat or heat there homes. i know it will behard because we have representitives and congress who only worrie about there pockets so they block anything that will help us. but a good president will beable to work around them or work with them.

    I want a president who will keep there promises they make while campaining.
    I don't want a president who needs a t.v. star to help him get in to the office. Let me tell you any actor who thinks another country and the children there are more improtant than our children here in the us should not back a president. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they help these children, but you don't see them adopting and of our orphans here or going to the coal mine areas and starting schools. Look at new orleans where is the help for these people. guess what not. there.

    a president should start at home ,our own country. If you can't help the poor and starving and sick in your own country than move to the country where you feel they are more important. After you help your own country that help others.

    I want a president thats more worried about getting there point out there than arguing between themselfs. and i don't want another REPUBLICAN IN OFFICE. Eight years of that was more than enough.

    February 11, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. P Graber

    I would like to encourage you to vote for endorse Hillary Clinton as the next Democratic presidential candidate. If Mr. Obama receives the nomination, his tenure will be “on the job training” and our country has too many problems to face and we need someone who has the experience and the expertise to handle these problems on DAY ONE.
    Asking Obama to deal with world leaders is akin to asking a seventh-grader to teach economics
    at the college level.

    Please do the country a favor and endorse Hillary – your country will thank you.

    February 11, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Mike

    Why did you remove my comments, this is the 5th or 6th time? Are you only publishing those comments you think favors Oboma?

    February 11, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. James

    Several sources told me the ballot boxes spent the night at the home of Rio Arriba County Democratic Party Chair Theresa Martinez, whose state-lawmaker husband, Sen. Richard Martinez, endorsed Hillary Clinton. But Richard Martinez told Santa Fe New Mexican reporter Kate Nash that the boxes actually spent the night in the homes of three polling-place managers. He gave Nash no explanation for why the results from those ballots weren’t reported to the state party last night and why they were instead kept overnight in officials’ homes.

    “The site managers locked them and they kept them and they took them to my wife this morning,” Nash quoted Richard Martinez as saying.

    State party officials and Theresa Martinez have not returned my calls seeking comment.

    The three ballot boxes from Rio Arriba County and a fourth from Sandoval County account for the 2 percent of precincts that haven’t yet reported results from Tuesday’s caucus. With about 200 votes separating Clinton and Barack Obama, that’s huge. We’re talking about the ballots from half the polling places in Rio Arriba County.

    I want to make sure this point is emphasized: Roughly half the votes from Rio Arriba County spent the night in the privacy of the home or homes of one or more election officials in boxes those officials may have had the ability to open. All the county party chair had to do last night to report the results was make a phone call. That never happened.

    February 11, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. AJ, IL

    Just admit it New Mexico. Obama won, but the Clinton Machine demanded a change of the rules, like in Florida and Michigan.

    Obama in 08!

    February 11, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Melmaire

    It's funny how things like this happen when Obama is catching up...NM is just trying to figure out a way to Cheat Obama.

    February 11, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Roz

    If New Mexico is pouring over their ballots to make sure the states count is actual. It appears to me they are trying to avoid a Flordia fiasco that landed BUSH! into the White House.
    Nothing wrong with accuracy. I guess all the Obamanites will change their tune if NM shows Obama might be closer to her than they thought.
    I can't wait until November the day after a new President is elected nobody really pays attention of cares anymore until we revisit the Nighmare again in 4 years.

    February 11, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Devin MA

    With the Obama campaign firing up anti-Hillary sentiment, it must be hard for those New Mexico voters to know which way is up.

    February 11, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. concerned

    the voting system in this country is pretty rusty. Needs updating. Version 2.5 or so. Money should not be the decisive help. There should not be a penalties for sooner voting time. The flexibility is OK. It is way too rigid as of now. Also, first it have to be the members of parties to vote, than people. I think it should be people from begining – all of them.
    Just my thoughts.
    Hillary 08!

    February 11, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Bill Clinton's Democracy At Work

    So...I was wondering what was going on in New Mexico. Last I saw Tuesday night on CNN, the election had been projected for Obama.

    Unverifiable voters on provisional ballots. We have people voting that aren't on the roles. Could it possible be undocumented immigrants? Amazing. It does seem like a long time to be counting. Maybe they are printing ballots off as they go until Hillary gets the lead. What did that cost you Bill...Oh, let me guess $5 million. LOL

    COUNT AND DOUBLE CHECK UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT NEW MEXICO!!!! Keep an eye on them every minute Obama officials!!! We have until August.

    I know the Clinton's can't be trusted. I am really disappointed this happened in Richardson's state. You would think voters would be verified before casting any ballots.

    February 11, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. 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 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Bev, Houston

    To Mary:


    Obama has the most Delegates by around 50 or so. The Super Delegates is what is putting her ahead by 27. The Super Delegates can change their mind.

    I can just see Bill Clinton calling each of them calling on favors to have them go to Hilary!!.

    February 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. Zoomie

    Gee, what a tough choice! The Democratic system, of ensuring EVERY legal voter - including over 16,000 provisional - gets their vote counted, even if it takes 7 – 10 days to accomplish...

    Or, we can go to the GOP system, as used Saturday in Washington state, of simply getting the candidate choice of the party elites into the lead by 1%, and immediately declare him the winner and stop counting the last 13% of the votes cast! Even Huckabee is calling the GOP vote counting in Washington a "Soviet style" election!

    And you guys complain about the Democrats? At least we count the votes!

    February 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Max C

    Givetheberdue, Obama introduced race into the campaign when Oprah started talking about growing up in the segregated south, not too far from SC where she campaigned. YOu can watch the rally yourself. All hillary clinton said was it took a president to enact the civil rights issues into law that MLK marched for. There's such a double standard in this campaign that Obamans enjoy over looking. If race is really not an issue, why not state that Obama is bi-racial, it shouldn't matter, correct? How is race not an issue, from the voters' perspective when african americans are disproportionately voting for Obama? It's cultural and racial among other variables, but CNN et al have a lot of explaining to do. SO let's just quit with the double standards on this one.

    February 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |

    how hard is it to count the votes!!! it's been a week almost!

    February 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. JS

    Much more relevant than Bill Clinton watching the superbowl in NM is the fact that NM is the home of........Roswell, New Mexico! See the connection?? It is obvious.

    Grow up, conspiracy theorists!

    February 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. sandy

    Looks like there trying to pull another Florida to me! Ironic that the governor of New Mexico is palse walsey with the Clintons and wouldn't you know it, the count goes on. OR, are they allowing illegals to vote? Take your pick folks, but it's certainly one of the above.

    February 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Darla

    "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"

    I'm quoting Jessica from above because I can't believe Hillary is not pointing this out more on the campaign trail. This is Obama's main argument–and it's not at all a valid one–it's like comparing apples to oranges (easy to say you didn't support it when you didn't have to vote on it and didn't have the information being provided that Hillary did)! Likewise, in his speeches this weekend, he sited getting health insurance for kids in Illinois as evidence of why he's qualified to get health insurance for the uninsured in our country–what he fails to point out is that was made possible by Hillary's implementing the CHIP program at the federal level that states are now implementing. She needs to point these things out–like in the L.A. debate when she was asked point blank about being M.I.A. on one of the proposals Barack was putting through on some issue–and pointed out she'd put through the same legislation years before Barack had. There is no doubt he is an inspiring speaker, but he hasn't really done anything on his own that I can find–not that translates into the ability to effectively run this country and to handle all the myriad problems that our next President will inherit.

    February 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. donna hanna

    Look reading all of these comments got me upset and thinking that the voters are just as bad as the candidates.
    Think about it why argue between each other. We all want the same thing to happen in the out come. We want a better president than we have had over the last 8 years. we want better living, better wages and more affordable medical. Just because the candidate you are voting for or are defending is saying what you want now. it willchange once they get in office. i don't care if it is clinton or obama. Let me tell you i don't want to live on hope any more , it has got me nowhere. other wise bush would of never of been elected. i would have affordable medical and a job that pays enough that i can eat and be warm. I'm just saying stop picking at each other and realy hear what each candidate is saying. read between the lines. I don't care what race , gender they mabe. i want results. I don't think at this time any one of them will help us in the long run. and i 'm not sure any one of you are going to vote for the candidate for the right reasons. and that's what got us all in the mess we are in. wake up and voice your concerns. and realy hear what they are saying. not want you want to hear.

    February 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Keith Cornelius

    This is ridiculous all these issues that keep coming w/ these elctions of late just goes to show how screwed we are. There should be one Primary day with a popular vote and one election Day with popular vote that would equal the VOICE of the PEOPLE, what this gov't is suppose to be about. I would also amke a NATIOANAL HOLIDAY...I would say these days are more important then taking off for someones Birthday....THESE ARE VERY EASY SOLUTIONS !!!!


    February 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Jack

    Don't underestimate the Clinton Machine. They know how to win by toppling Republicans and the Right-Wing attack machine....

    February 11, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Mireille, Charlotte

    New Mexico. There is no Excuse. You call attention to yousrselves by the amount of time it is taking you to count a154k votes. You call attention to the process by raising the doubt that you can count, that you even want a result or the RESULT. if you're gonna give it to Hillary then give it to Hillary. God will even the score. You look like imbeciles taking this long to come up with something.

    February 11, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Prince Noel

    lol its ridiculous why richardson cant do any thing as quck as possible. LMAO. hillary won in New mexico and so what. we are in the tone of now and no more super tuesday... Obama still leads .. Go Obama

    February 11, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Keith

    People need to calm down. New Mexico, unlike Florida, is trying to do the right thing and count all the ballots. Provisional ballots need to be verified before they can be counted. This is a long process when it has to be done statewide.

    Perhaps if they had counted all the provisional ballots in Ohio, Kerry would be President now. I for one am happy they are being so careful in New Mexico.

    February 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. michelle in Des Moines

    Wonder how many Illegals Billary got to vote for her. It could get ugly in Denver.

    February 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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