Funding race tightens as counties tally more votes

By Gary Mitchell

Curry County election officials have determined they have four ballots not counted from Tuesday’s special election and those will be turned over to the canvassing board today.
Still up in the air is the outcome of a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the yearly amount paid out of the so-called Land Grant Permanent Fund to provide more money for public schools.
Unofficial results across the state show the permanent fund measure trailing by two votes. However, the statewide tally likely will change as counties canvass their returns.
Curry County officials have checked and rechecked vote tallies, and county clerk Mario Trujillo has declared no glitches in the county’s election process.
“Curry County is A-OK,” Trujillo said.
His declaration, of course, is pending the canvassing board’s verification this morning when the Curry County Commission meets at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.
“The commission will meet as the canvassing board, and they will approve the results,” Trujillo said. “They’ll sign a certificate saying these are our canvassed results of the election and send it in to the state.”
Chief Deputy Clerk Coni Jo Lyman said the office staff has checked and rechecked election results.
“Our staff has gone through every signature and counted them,” she said. “We’ve gone through every permit slip, then we compared it to the voting machine tape, and the numbers have to be the same. The county commission is the regulatory body to do that, but they have delegated it to us.”
Today is the last day the canvassing board can meet to begin the canvassing process, Lyman said.
“But you have until Oct. 3 to finish it,” she said. “The state canvassing board will meet on Oct. 14. It will review everything the county canvassing boards have sent to them, and then they certify the election for the whole state.”
“It’s a check-and-double-check process,” Trujillo said.
According to Lyman, the county had received only one military ballot, or FQE (federal qualified elector) ballot. That vote was counted among the absentee ballots, Lyman said.
“It’s a federal form that’s an application for a ballot/voter registration form,” she said. “Anybody who’s in the military can pick up one of those forms at their legal office, and they don’t have to be registered in this county to vote. The one we received showed he voted. He’s actually on the base but not registered in our county.”
Lyman also noted that, although this is the first election to allow provisional voting, there were none who took advantage of it in Curry County.
However, four people who requested an absentee ballot voted at the precinct site, Lyman said.
“For whatever reason, they didn’t get that absentee ballot, so they went to the precinct, and they were issued an absentee-in-lieu-of ballot,” she said. “Those were put in double-sealed envelopes and will go to the canvassing board and be hand-counted. So they haven’t been counted yet.”