The tallying of the final 4,000 or so votes in Doña Ana County began just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday — a process that promised to impact a number of races, most notably the contest to replace Steve Pearce in the U.S. House.
Meanwhile, there were approximately 700 ballots yet to be recorded in the final count from Cibola County that will also impact the 2nd Congressional District race between Republican Yvette Herrell and Democrat Xochitl Torres Small — a race that is currently too close to call.
Cibola, like Doña Ana, lets people cast ballots at any voting convenience center in the county instead of being tied to one polling place. It’s the results from one voting convenience center that are up in the air.
County Clerk Michelle Dominguez said her staff worked into the early hours of the morning to finalize results, but the numbers from that voting location didn’t quite add up. At 3:30 a.m., with permission from the Secretary of State’s Office, the clerk’s staff took a break, she said. They were back at work at 8 a.m. and are re-counting the votes from that location by hand this morning.
“We’re just making sure everything is right because the races are so close, and it comes down to the last vote, so we want to make sure everything is right,” Dominguez said.
She said she expects final results later this morning.
Herrell currently leads Torres Small by 1,973 votes, or about 1 percentage point. But Cibola and Doña Ana counties both went heavily to Torres Small. There are approximately 7,885 votes yet to be added to the public tally from Doña Ana County because the outstanding 4,000 ballots are absentees, and none of those can be posted until all 7,885 are counted. So there are about 8,585 votes in total from both counties that aren’t yet added to the final count.
On top of that, there are about 1,000 provisional ballots in Doña Ana County, and probably more in other counties, that can’t be considered until the other votes are all tallied. Most of those will be rejected, but some may be counted.
Torres Small is currently leading in Cibola County with 63.18 percent of the vote to Herrell’s 36.82 percent. She’s leading in Doña Ana County with 62.09 percent of the vote to Herrell’s 37.91 percent. If the percentages stay the same as the remaining votes are counted — and they probably won’t, so these numbers are pure speculation — Torres Small would win 442 additional votes in Cibola to Herrell’s 258 and 4,896 additional votes in Doña Ana to Herrell’s 2,989.
Add those numbers to the current totals, and Torres Small would be leading by 118 votes — 97,810 votes, or 50.03 percent, to 97,692 votes, or 49.97 percent.
To be clear again, the percentages from both counties will likely change as additional votes are counted. How much won’t be clear until they’re counted. This race is still very much up in the air — and still very close.
The results won’t impact which political party controls the House. Democrats have already won enough seats across the United States to take control from Republicans on Jan. 1. But the remaining votes matter immensely for who will represent the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico in that chamber.