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. Kittensbeep

    Yes, New Mexican's can count and the outcome will be the cleanest one across this great land because it isbeing heavily scrutinized by both campaigns. Sorry America for such a long delay. No excuses just microscopic scrutinization. We will have the numbers before 2-15-08.... LOL

    February 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. lula

    Clinton has done a lot for you.Can you think of what that is?I can.She voted to send your children's college education funds to Iraq (for that 100 year war).Let me think a little harder.She voted to further fund it.How are you doing.As Dr.Phil asks "How is it working for you." If you can do some of your thinking the anger some are expressing for Hillary has been well earned.We elected her as the Democratic Senator from the great state of N.Y,Not the Bush supporter of the 100 year war.

    February 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Joe

    What in the sam hill is going on here??? 227 volunteers and they are still "slogging" through 17,000 privisional ballots. Are all of the volunteers in third grade? California must have had millions of ballots to count and they were done days ago. Maybe New Mexico is just trying to be relevant and get their 15 minutes of fame, but seriously, were talking about a one delegate switch at best. Just pick a winner and be done with it.

    February 11, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Ervin Sowell

    Mitt, Mac, Hill,... BAM!!!! Experience without wisdom is just a burden. Vote for Obama and restore America.

    February 11, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Phi

    – —

    Its hard to belive, obama got this far with no experience — just 2004 he got elected Senate and also Delivered keynote address- Nothing else ....he can inspire but dont you think we need more than this

    Obam's whole campaign is based on nothing but hype and fluff..

    ..........

    February 11, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. eric

    Of the 17,077 provisional ballots that were cast, three-fifths were from counties in which Obama was leading – with most of those in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

    February 11, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Phi

    Its hard to belive, obama got this far with no experience — just 2004 he got elected Senate and also Delivered keynote address- Nothing else ….he can inspire but dont you think we need more than this

    Obam's whole campaign is based on nothing but hype and fluff.. tired of Kids

    Hilary 08 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Never little o

    most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.

    February 11, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Will SF CA

    Go Hillary!

    February 11, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. marq

    hmmm let's see.. Bill Richardson.. gov of New. Mexico... former Sec. of Energy in Bill's years... hmmmm... sounds funny

    Obama 08

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

    Walter Mondale invented super-delegates.
    Personally, iwhat the heck do we still have delegates for anyways? They are just complicating the system – let's go with STRAIGHT POPULAR VOTE TABULATIONS, forget this delegate crap!

    February 11, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Mrs. Moe

    Honestly don't they see where the votes are going?! Just join the Soviet and stop counting!

    j/k

    February 11, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Anthony

    James (Kansas), you are a GENIUS!!!! I agree with you 100%. I'm an African-American male and I will support any Democratic Candidate who will put a stop to illegal immigration and give America back to Americans who reside here LEGALLY!!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Tim, Seattle

    Much ado about nothing....
    Even when they declare a winner, it wont change the distribution of the delegates (they will be virtually even) which means this changes nothing.
    The only advantage is another state in either candidate's list of states won. Not many states in Hillary's column, so she is probably the only one that cares.

    February 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. maigoro

    If the super delegates or fraud is used to put Hillary ahead, then the Obama campaign should be getting ready for an independent run and I hope this is a possibility the camp is gearing for. All the people that support Obama now will most likely support him then – to hell with Political parties and their machines.

    February 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Jerel

    Is everyone really surprised? You have both Clintons involved. What our country does not need is another scandal

    February 11, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Eric

    All these blind comparisons of Obama with JFK is meaningless. The world that JFK lived in was quite different than the one Obama now lives in. Obama lives in the information age where the internet and television is used to influence opinions and direct government policies. There are many things we know now about our government and globally that we could not have known in the JFK years; thanks to the information super highway! It's hard to compare living in the dark with living in daylight. The only thing Obama has succeded to do in this light year is to fool us that he could live in the light as someone who lived in the dark.

    February 11, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Joel

    Can someone please tell me why it is so difficult to conduct a count in the state of New Mexico? This is pathetic. One week to count up thousands of votes. I literally could finish the job MYSELF in one week. New Mexico should be removed from the Union for this one. 49 states is good enough for me.

    February 11, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. farid shakur

    new mexico primaries or caucases should not count anymore because that state is not organized to participate

    February 11, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Nixon

    What has become of the great USA as far as Democracy of concern? Why odes it take so long to count votes in New Mexico? Are we trying to join the African democratic system where election rigging is the best democratic process the so called african democratically elected leaders know and use when in reality the person in power wins an election even before voting is actually done?

    February 11, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Nisha

    I heard of politics being a down and dirty game where politicians don't always abide by the written rule... but my goodness this is taking things to the extreme.
    I questioned the legitimacy of the delay of the ballot count in New Mexico. It shouldn't take long to sort things out and tally up the ballots and give an accurate account of the vote for either candidate. I have my suspensions this delay is an attempt to maneuver the outcome of the vote to favor. Sen. Clinton. "New Mexico come on now stop prolonging"! Give the results of the precincts. What are you waiting for? To pull a rabbit out the hat just in case Sen.Obama take the lead in the primaries.

    February 11, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Disgusted

    You people need to learn to read.

    It's not the COUNTING that takes so long. What basically happens with a provisional vote is that someone fills out a ballot and votes, but proof that they are qualified to vote is not available at that moment. It's a person saying "Yes, I am able to vote" and the election officials saying "Ok, we will take your vote now and then verify it later".

    Each and every person's name, address and so forth has to be checked out one at a time to determine whether or not they are, in fact, eligible to vote. That's what qualifying means. It's not a fast process and they have to make sure it is correct. It's a way to ensure that no one who is entitled to one is deprived of a vote just because at the moment the ballots are being taken, proof is not readily available. If YOU knew you were able to vote but couldn't prove it when you showed up to the polls, would you rather that they told you no and pushed you out the door, or would you prefer that they say "Ok, we'll take it and verify it later"?

    Not everything is a conspiracy and it's NOT just about counting. Do you really think you should even BE voting if you can't understand something this basic about the process???

    February 11, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    What has become of the great USA as far as Democracy of concern? Why odes it take so long to count votes in New Mexico? Are we trying to join the African democratic system where election rigging is the best democratic process the so called african democratically elected leaders know and use when in reality the person in power wins an election even before voting is actually done?

    February 11, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. John Michael

    Now, I just have to laugh at the comment Wolf Blitzer made about Louisiana tallying votes. He stated that Louisiana has been known to be slow when it came to counting the ballots. We were finished counting, reporting, and posting the results of our ballots the night our polls closed! We even printed out the results and posted them at the voting stations to show citizens how each precinct voted. Take that Wolf. Someone needs to put New Mexico on the spotlight, they're having some really bad irregularities!!!

    February 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Florida II

    Wow. It's New Mexico with old Mexico-styled politics – rigged elections.

    February 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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