SANTA FE, New Mexico — Official primary election returns show a growing portion of New Mexico voters are casting their ballots before Election Day.
About 40 percent of Democratic and Republican voters in this year's primary election took advantage of absentee ballots or early in-person voting, according to official returns from the secretary of state's office.
That's up from 35 percent in 2010, and 24 percent in 2006. Both were gubernatorial election years.
New Mexico has relaxed absentee voting requirements and implemented early voting to make it more convenient to cast a ballot. That's shifted voting patterns away from Election Day, but it hasn't led to greater voter participation.
Nearly 203,000 total ballots were cast in this year's primary — a drop of about 22 percent from 2010, but up almost 4 percent from 2006.