February 11th, 2008
10:10 AM ET
7 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. Julie

    [quote]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.[/quote]

    New Mexico has had ballot-counting snafus the past two presidential elections that I can recall.

    They're enchanted.

    February 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Simeon

    17,000+ provisional ballots to count. 227 volunteers with 10 fingers each is 2270 this explains why the count isn't finished!!!

    February 11, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. DISGUTING!!!!!

    SICK........ WHO VOTE FOR OBAMA!!!!!! I AM NOT GOING TO WATCH TV OR READ NEWS ANYMORE... HILLARY IS BEST 08!!! GOOD LUCK!

    BYE SK SK SK !!!

    February 11, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Newton

    We need to send some people back to the elementary school in NM

    February 11, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. MARYLOU JONES

    THIS WHOLE CAUCUS VOTING IS IDIOTIC! I THOUGHT EVERY AMERICAN HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE. WITH A CAUCUS, ONLY AMERICANS WHO CAN GET OFF WORK FOR THREE HOURS, WHO HAVE THE DAY OFF, WHO DON'T HAVE A JOB, ARE RETIRED CAN VOTE! WHAT ABOUT ALL THE DOCTORS, NURSES, FIREMEN, MILITARY, TEACHERS, BLUE COLLAR WORKERS, COLLEGE STUDENTS, SINGLE MOMS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN, ETC. ETC. ETC. THESE PEOPLE ARE BEING DISENFRANCHISED!!! WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY??? IF YOU LIVE IN A PRIMARY STATE YOU CAN HAVE A 12 TO 14 HOUR TIME PERIOD TO GO VOTE (BEFORE OR AFTER WORK), OR YOU CAN MAIL IN AN ABSENTEE BALLOT OR IN SOME CASES EARLY VOTING. THIS WHOLE THING STINKS! AND YOU WOULD THINK THESE "BRAIN SURGEONS" WOULD HAVE FIGURED THIS OUT BY NOW. UH, HOW MANY DECADES HAVE WE BEEN VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES??? COME ON POWERS THAT BE! GET YOUR HEADS OUT AND LETS START LETTING EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN VOTE! CNN, YOU CAN TAKE THE LEAD ON THIS!!! LOU DOBBS, WHERE ARE YOU???? JACK CAFFERTY, WHERE ARE YOU????

    February 11, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Newton

    Texas for Obama;

    We need a lot of changes around here in Texas; seems to me that this is the only candidate with that meessage of change; I will vote for Obama on Teusday

    February 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Cathy

    For whatever reason it seems that New Mexico is always slow to count the vote. I am disturbed by the reports that some ballot boxes spent the night in private homes. That seems illegal, but at best immoral. Take the time to count correctly. Either way it turns out the delegates will be split almost 50/50.

    February 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Matt

    Moral of the story....caucuses are worthless, inefficient and undemocratic. Let's get rid of them all and have primaries across the board.

    February 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. William

    I think what is going on here and why the tally is not complete is simple, New Mexico wants to hold out long enough to be the one that decides which way this election will tip, so they are taking their time and holding back the official counts.

    In the end what they will find is Hillary won the state, but, the delegates will still be split between the two.

    February 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. MWD

    Maybe we should remind everyone that it was Micehelle Obama who introduced the race card when she told a black audience that "ot was our time" ?????

    February 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Art

    it's unfortunate that the process in NM is so antiquated however, it must be done above board to insure that every eligible vote is counted. It's funny how these Clinton haters complain. When things were going well for us in the 90's few democrats complained and when Hillary campaigned for Obama, few democrats complained. That's the amazing thing about this electorate, it does'nt really matter to a majority who is better qualified, what matters is who is marketed the best. It's the difference between having a really attractive boyfriend or girlfriend with little substance but great looks and having a husband or wife with Ok looks but a lot of substance. The spouse is for life whereas the boyfriend or girlfriend is temporary. Obama is a great orator, McCain a war hero who has sold out and Hillary Clinton is fighter who will stand up to special interests to quote a great President "She will never be afraid to negotiate nor will she negotiate out of fear" My hopes are that we will in the end choose a leader with substance and not another "Bush" with no subtance who can be manipulated at will like he has by the right wingers and cheney.

    February 11, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. MWD

    How can you vote for someone just because he sounds like JFK ????

    February 11, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Populist

    the ballots must be in English.

    February 11, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Concerned

    History have taught us that men with vision and hope have transformed the world - Great men like Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buda, and Confucius, to mention a few. History has also taught us that experience without vision and hope is disastrous. Judge for yourselves the state of our great nation and the world captained by a former experienced Governor of Texas.

    Acknowledge that knowledge in this century is very vast and dynamic, and no one experience can embody it. Therefore, vision and hope can transcend experience in transforming the present and striving for a better future.

    February 11, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. BARNEY

    The NM Dorks has to learn how to count past 10 toes & 10 fingers

    February 11, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. RF

    They must have discovered that Hillary won, so they are trying to find a way to keep
    loser Obama from losing in their state. GOV Bill, straighten them out. You know
    that Clinton is the best.

    February 11, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Tim Stidham

    When we actually have some primaries in march where people who work all day actually get a chance to vote not like a caucuses where you have a certain time to be there and only about 25-30% of the state gets to vote .If Florida and Michigan counted it would of already been over with .But Hillary will be fine when the big working blue collar state votes .She has double digit leads in Texas and Ohio.Pennsylvania is a week later where she has another double digit lead that will put her over the top .Let Obama enjoy it while it last with these tiny caucuses
    states .She is still getting a good portion of the delegates because she is winning some of the bigger districts .

    February 11, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. James

    It's not just kids voting for Obama , it's people that want real change , and truly believe that we are one people. Clinton is just more of the same divided politics , and that's what people are sick of.

    February 11, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Milton Temple

    Gov Richardson who was running for president before dropping out should be ashamed at the Democratic system in his state. In 2008 they're still not able to get an acurate count on who voted for what, when and how. Maybe he should spend more time campaining for the state to fix this abominable situation. On the campain trail he talked about how he was the one candidate that could do this and that, including what he had done in New Mexico, well Mr. Governor, please explain this fiasco. New Mexico is worse than a third world country.

    February 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    and what are Hillary's major claims to experience? she was married to a governor who became a president.

    OBAMA IS CHANGE; HILLARY IS CLINTON

    February 11, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. barry

    The dems still haven't learned to count. They still think Gore won in Florida and Kerry won Ohio. Go back to your teacher-union-only schools and learn to count!

    February 11, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. T.

    I stood in line 1/1/2 hrs to vote. All the people who were near me in line were voting for Hillary. I can't understand why Obama folks think they "obviously won"? There are folks here in NM that think Hillary has the real goods. Not someone who stole Bob the Builder's "yes we can".....

    February 11, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. alexg

    WATCH IF YOU WORK IN CNN:
    I have noticed that in many of your articles, CNN presents the delegate count factoring in Superdelegates. The result of this is that Clinton, with the support of the party establishment, appears to be ahead of Obama, while, among the people she is actually losing. I think that, taking into account that superdelegates can change their mind at any time about who they support, you should present the actual pledged delegate numbers, in the interest of fairness and democracy.
    Thank you.

    February 11, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Jake

    If experience is the only thing that counts then Democrats shouldn't even be a part of the general election. I support Obama, but I know he doesn't have the International experience. What has Hillary done? She was senator for six years and voted for whatever the majority voted for each time. That's a lot of experience. Her husband being president does not count as experience. Just because she lived in the White House does not mean she knew what was going on. For voters who think that counts as more experience than being in the state legislature, you should really do your homework and support a woman who is smart enough to be president. There are several out there, but Hillary is not one.

    February 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Joseph

    When someone shows up to a polling place they will sign the roster of voters in their precinct. There are rare times when someone either is not voting in the right precinct and therefore voted provisionally, or someone did not show up on the roster for some reason. This can happen is they just registered to vote and didn't make it on the roster. New Mexico is doing what every state is doing right now. California is still counting the vote, but because the election is not that close they can declare a winne. In New Mexico they cannot declare a winner because the result is close and the provisional ballots could tip the scale. Keep in mind that all states are still counting votes, they just have a better idea of what the final outcome will be.

    February 11, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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