Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Smoother Election Promised.

Byline: Isabel Sanchez Journal Staff Writer

* Bernalillo County clerk says kinks in counting absentee ballots have been worked out

It will be different this year, vows Bernalillo County Clerk Judy Woodward.

Different from 1996, when a black box holding several hundred absentee ballots was found two days after the election.

Different from 1998, when exhausted poll workers were sent home after midnight on Election Day, with 5,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

And different from earlier that year, when it took almost three days to count 18,000 absentees in a special congressional election.

"The question is always absentee," Woodward said. "It will be manageable (this year) because we have more workers, more computers, better training."

She said she and Robert Lucero, the Bureau of Elections coordinator, believe final results will be available by 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Including absentees.

There are more than twice the number of poll workers 90 assigned to the absentee ballots this year, and more experienced ones, Woodward said.

"Some of them had their baptism by fire at the early voting sites," she said.

More than 40,000 people used early voting sites by Thursday, when early voting ended. …

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