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New Mexico encourages mail-in balloting amid virus concerns

March 21, 2020 GMT
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators are encouraging registered voters to request mail-in ballots ahead of the state’s June 2 primary election in light of a public health emergency concerning the coronavirus.

Ohio delayed its presidential primary in the final hours before scheduled polling to prevent fueling the pandemic. In New Mexico, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Friday announced that absentee ballots can be requested through an online portal.

New Mexico has “no fault” absentee balloting in which mail-in ballots can be requested for any reason.

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Primary election absentee ballots are sent out to voters starting on May 5. The final day to request an absentee ballot is May 28.

The entire state Legislature is up for election this year.

Nominations are pending in an open U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and an open 3rd Congressional District race as Rep. Ben Ray Luján runs for Senate as the sole Democratic contender.

Republican former lobbyist Claire Chase of Roswell and former state Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo are vying to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.

The state coronavirus website reported that New Mexico had 57 positive cases of the virus as of Saturday afternoon, up from 43 on Friday.