The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clerks learn voting system at training session


Last updated 11/4/2017 at 8:14am

Thomas Garcia

Quay County Clerk Ellen White, right, standing, works with Union County Chief Deputy Clerk Brenda Green, left, and County Clerk Mary Lou Harkins during Friday's election training held by the New Mexico Secretary of State in Tucumcari.

TUCUMCARI — More than a dozen county clerks and deputy county clerks from eastern New Mexico took part in a three-day training session outlining the state's new election and voter registration system at Mesalands Community College.

The training, one of three held this week in the state, was conducted by Angel Espinoza of the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.

"The purpose of the training is to give the clerks and deputy clerks a chance to become comfortable with the system," Espinoza said. "Not only were we able to give the officials time to work hands on with the system, they were able to provide us with feedback on improvements, issues with the system."

County officials from counties including Roosevelt, Quay, Harding, Union and Curry got hands-on training and instruction from Espinoza.

Espinoza said this system is not new to many county officials, as for the past year the SOS office has been working with county officials across the state in a variety of manners including online sessions and workshops. She said each time, the state would learn concerns or issues with program from its main users.

"This is an all-in-one program, operated by the state, that clerks will use for voter registration and elections," said Quay County Clerk Ellen White.

White said in the past there were two separate systems the clerks had to use for elections and voter registrations. She said the benefit of this new system is there will be one program for clerks to use to register voters, enter candidate filings, enter results for elections and generate reports.

"This training allowed us to interact, learn from staff of the secretary of state and fellow county clerks," said Stephanie Hicks, Roosevelt County's chief deputy clerk.

Hicks said it was beneficial for everyone to work directly with the new system, discussing its various functions and options. She said the instructor was informative and receptive to suggestions, concerns and questions.

White said one area of concern was the difficulty in creating a signature roster for a municipal election. She said with the existing tools, staffers could not produce a list of the voters eligible to vote in a specific district.

Hicks said this issue is a concern for all counties. In Roosevelt County, she said, there are five municipal elections (Floyd, Portales, Dora, Elida and Causey) that will require signature rosters.

White said the rosters provide precinct workers with the information on who is eligible to vote in the election. She said it ensures accuracy for the election and is a tool to help prevent votes from people outside the district from being incorrectly cast or counted.

"I am thankful for everyone that participated in this training," Espinoza said. "The questions, concerns and feedback from this session has had positive responses from officials in Santa Fe. The staff is working off the feedback from the clerks to address any issues and improve the system before its launch in December."

Espinoza said there were two training sessions held last week in Santa Fe, three held this week and three more planned for this month.


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