SANTA FE – New Mexico Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel this week issued a public health order establishing social distancing restrictions for polling places during the fall election season.

“Election facilities must remain accessible to the public under the state’s Election Code, and as such we’ve got to ensure that everyone casting a ballot may do so safely,” Kunkel said. “There is still a risk of COVID-19 transmission no matter where we go. Our job is to make these facilities as safe as possible while strongly encouraging New Mexicans to take every precaution while casting their ballot this fall.”

Under the secretary’s order, polling locations shall allow only 25 percent of the maximum occupancy of the location or 4 voters at any one time, whichever is greater. Polling locations that are mobile units shall allow only 2 voters at a time.

Polling locations shall ensure that voters do not come within 6 feet of one another, and poll officials and staff are directed to wash and sanitize their hands frequently, while routinely cleaning all surfaces and reusable writing implements.

Poll officials and staff are directed to ensure any voters waiting outside of a polling location maintain 6 feet of physical distance from one another and avoid person-to-person contact.

Under the order, the Secretary of State is empowered to implement the above social distancing protocols and may provide additional guidance to ensure compliance. The order is attached to this news release.

Important information and deadlines for the 2020 General Election:

New Mexicans are encouraged to register to vote or update your voter registration online here

ABSENTEE BALLOTS: Absentee ballot requests can now be made online through the Secretary of State’s website hereOct. 20 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot. Voters should mail their completed absentee ballot back no later than Oct. 27 to ensure it arrives to their county clerks before 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING: In-person early voting locations open in each county beginning on Saturday, Oct. 17, and continue through Saturday, Oct. 31.

ELECTION DAY: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, with in-person polling locations open in each county from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

POLL WORKERS: New Mexicans interested in serving as poll workers may find more information here and at the Secretary of State’s website.