Early Voting Sets New Record In New Mexico, State Prosecutors Will Monitor Polling Places

Nov 7, 2016

Early Voting Sets New Record In New Mexico - The Associated Press

New Mexico voters have cast more ballots before election day than ever before.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office said Monday that more than 534,000 residents have voted at early voting centers or by absentee ballot.

The numbers were reported by county clerks from across the state after early voting ended Saturday.

The previous record for early voting in New Mexico was set in the 2008 general election when nearly 520,000 ballots were cast before election day.

Registered Democrats accounted for 49 percent of early votes and Republicans for 36 percent. Absentee ballots continue to be counted ahead the submission deadline on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The record for overall turnout in New Mexico was set in 2008 with 833,365 votes cast.

State Prosecutors Will Monitor New Mexico Polling PlacesAssociated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is deploying investigators and attorneys to help ensure proper conduct at polling locations across the state.

Balderas announced Sunday that his office would provide support to county clerks at polling places. The move responds to a request from the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.

The same routine support was provided by the attorney general's office during June primary elections.

Secretary of State Brad Winter says election administrators are well prepared for Tuesday's vote, and that the partnership with prosecutors instills additional public trust.

Panel Recommends Marijuana To Fight Opioid AbuseThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican 

An advisory panel is recommending to New Mexico health officials that medical marijuana be considered as a tool in the fight against opioid abuse.

Some health professionals tell the Santa Fe New Mexican that expanding the list of conditions that qualify under the state's medical marijuana program could transform New Mexico's landscape of addiction.

The recommendation will need the approval of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher.

The Medical Advisory Board also voted Friday to recommend that Alzheimer's disease be added as a qualifying condition, and that the Health Department raise the cap on the number of plants a grower can produce to ensure an adequate supply is available for the increase in patients.

Officials say the program has grown over the past year to nearly 33,000 patients.

New Mexico's Nurse Hotline Faces Threat Of Shutdown – The Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

A hotline that provides New Mexicans with free, around-the-clock access to nurses could shut down by the end of the year.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports revenues for the nonprofit NurseAdvice New Mexico have declined, largely because managed care companies that long supported the program have switched to lower-cost services.

Records show that even though they aren't funding the hotline, many of the companies' patients continue to call the line.

NurseAdvice was launched in 2006 as a public-private partnership to help reduce medical care costs and ease the strain on rural health clinics and hospitals overwhelmed with unnecessary emergency room visits.

The state initially required Medicaid contractors to partner with the nonprofit and contribute funding, generating revenue to cover operating costs. That mandate eventually was removed.

Missing Ballot In Santa Fe County FoundAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe County election officials say a mailed ballot that was reported lost has been located.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that 83-year-old John Valdez said a ballot he requested for his wife, who uses a wheelchair, never came.

But the county clerk's office said the ballot was showing up as having been submitted.

County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said Saturday that the ballot had actually been returned to her office by the Postal Service unmarked and unopened.

The Secretary of State's Office says delivery problems are the most reported issue so far.

Voters either say they haven't received them or the mail delivery has been too slow.

County clerks statewide estimate they have issued 69,000 mail ballots.

As of Friday afternoon, 53,000 have been turned in.

Former Nuke Workers Worry About Health CompensationAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

Former nuclear employees and their families gathered earlier this week at what was once headquarters for the top secret program that produced the world's first atomic bomb.

The commemoration of the annual Cold War Patriots National Day of Remembrance was marked Monday in Los Alamos as the federal compensation programs meant to help workers who were exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals have come under increased demand and scrutiny.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the number of nuclear veterans seeking compensation under the programs has spiked in recent years.

The amount of benefits paid to former employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory has doubled since 2009, and some with the Cold War Patriots are concerned that the federal well will dry up.

The U.S. Labor Department also is reconsidering proposed regulations for the compensation programs.

Drone Summit To Take Inaugural Flight At Spaceport AmericaAssociated Press, Las Cruces Sun News

Hundreds of drone enthusiasts will converge for a first-ever drone summit later this month at Spaceport America, a sign of the New Mexico facility's effort to diversify its offerings.

Spaceport officials are hoping to attract between 500 and 1,000 participants and spectators for the three-day event, which starts Nov. 11.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the facility is opening its doors for various activities to better engage the public.

The conference will include drone racing, a drone filmmaking contest and workshops with a top drone-racing pilot.

Spaceport America is currently going through a change in leadership.

Daniel Hicks, an engineer who had a senior management position at White Sands Missile Range, was named the new CEO in September.

He replaces Christine Anderson, who resigned this summer.

Thieves Take Cards For Troops From Albuquerque Woman's CarAssociated Press, KRQE-TV

An Albuquerque woman says the only thing thieves stole from her car was a box containing hundreds of holiday letters for troops overseas.

Carol Sanchez tells KRQE-TV that the theft happened Friday night while she was eating dinner with a friend at a restaurant.

Sanchez says she returned to her car to find a window completely shattered and the box gone.

Sanchez says her friend, a teacher, had given them to her.

Sanchez is a member of the Rio Grande Valley Blue Star Mothers. The organization makes care packages for troops four times a year.

The restaurant's surveillance cameras were unable to capture the theft.

Sanchez says she has already heard from people in the community who have promised to write more letters.

Albuquerque Police Arrest Teen With 4 Felony WarrantsAssociated Press, KOB-TV

Albuquerque police say a teenage boy believed to be connected to a crew of teens carrying out violent crimes has been arrested.

KOB-TV reports that the 16-year-old boy will make an appearance in court Monday.

The teen has four outstanding felony warrants.

He was charged Friday with evading or resisting an officer but more charges are likely.

Police say he is suspected of being involved in a home burglary in the east mountains where a pet dog was shot and killed.

The teen is currently being held at the juvenile detention center.

Man Dies After Shooting Erupts At Albuquerque House PartyAssociated Press

Police say a fight in the backyard at an Albuquerque house party turned violent, leaving a young man dead.

Officer Simon Drobik says the incident happened shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to investigators, guests were playing beer pong when an altercation erupted.

The fight then moved to the front of a neighbor's property and several shots were fired.

Drobik says 22-year-old Angel Santana Martinez was shot and rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Police say most of the potential witnesses fled before they arrived.

Detectives are actively conducting an investigation.

Mother Of Slain Albuquerque Girl Loses Custody Of SonAssociated Press, KOAT-TV

An Albuquerque woman accused of taking part in the rape and murder of her 10-year-old daughter has lost custody of her other child.

KOAT-TV reports that court documents obtained Friday indicate the Michelle Martens' 8-year-old son now lives solely with his father.

According to court records, Martens was receiving $300 a month in child support. Now, she must pay.

However, the documents show that the boy's father agreed that Martens does not have to pay while she is being held in jail.

Police found Victoria Martens' dismembered body in August inside the apartment she shared with her mother.

Martens, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's cousin have all been charged with murder.

The boy, who has a different father from Victoria, was not home the night of the killing.