Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Long lines in New Mexico

Guess this is why New Mexico hasn't started reporting yet...

New Mexico Democrats turned out for their presidential caucus in greater numbers than predicted, causing long lines and surprising party officials, after both candidates made visits to the state only days before the voting.

The state party opened up 184 caucus sites beginning at noon Tuesday, but some voters waiting in lines for up to two hours complained that wasn't enough.

The polls closed at 7 p.m., but Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colon said people waiting in line at closing time would still be able to vote.

Some polling sites in Albuquerque also ran out of ballots Tuesday afternoon. The manager of one of those caucus sites, Nancy Phillips, said she was pleased by the turnout, "but obviously we're not prepared."

On Monday, Michelle Obama stumped for her husband at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, while Clinton simulcast a town hall event from New York; in Albuquerque, 125 people braved a winter storm to gather at the National Hispanic Cultural Center for the event.

One high-profile New Mexico Democrat gave no hint as to how he marked his ballot.

"Just going to keep that to myself. They're both great candidates," Gov. Bill Richardson said while standing in line to cast his ballot at a community complex north of downtown Santa Fe. Both Clinton and Obama have sought Richardson's endorsement since he dropped his presidential bid Jan. 10.

Among the Albuquerque voters was Linda Loya, who said she decided a few weeks ago to vote for Obama.

"I think this country is in really big trouble ... maybe we'll get somebody new in there," said Loya, 60. "Maybe he's not corrupted yet."

Rosella Martinez, 70, said she voted for Clinton.

"We need a woman in there and she knows what she's doing. She'll do well. She's got the experience, she's smart, she's been a go-getter," Martinez said.

- Associated Press

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