A recent calendar email confused voters.
Voters in this election should be aware that SOME precinct polling places they have used for years to cast their ballots on Election Day will NOT be open this year.
In 2010, former County Clerk and now state Senator Howie Morales sponsored New Mexico legislation that allowed county commissions throughout the state to designate Convenience Centers for voting to save money.
The voters themselves were not given the opportunity locally, except to the Grant County Commission when it was discussing the issue, to express their opinions on the issue. In November 2011, the Grant County Commission voted on establishing the poll locations for the 2012 election. At that time, they established Convenience Centers. Several voters have expressed to the Beat that they feel it may be convenient for the Clerk's Office, but they are finding is less convenient for their process of voting.
Only TWO "convenience" centers will be open in Silver City on November 6—The Grant County Business and Conference Center and the Woman's Club.
Anyone registered in Grant County may vote at either of these centers or at other poll locations, located in outlying areas of the county.
The push by some in the community is to have people vote early, because studies have shown that it increases the turnout of Democrats. In addition, the Grant County Democratic Party is sponsoring buses to take voters to the polls on specific days during early voting.
According to the pamphlet put out by the County Clerk’s office, besides the two centers in Silver, there are four other Convenience Centers in the area:
Tyrone Community Center
National Guard Armory, Santa Clara
Bayard Community Center
Father out in the county, sites for Election Day include: Cliff School, Redrock Church, Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire Department, Sapillo VFD, San Lorenzo Elementary School, Mule Creek Community Center and Hachita Baptist Church.
At the County Clerk’s office today, a voter asked if the Convenience Centers were the only place that one could vote on Election Day. Two out of three staff members, who were helping with early voting, couldn’t answer that question.
There was also no information about these Convenience Centers on the county website including the page for elections. The only information available was from the 2010 mid-term election.