Jon Austria/The Daily timesShirley Folkers, presiding election judge at the Farmington  the Farmington Museum’s polling place, directs voters to
Jon Austria/The Daily times Shirley Folkers, presiding election judge at the Farmington the Farmington Museum's polling place, directs voters to their stations on Wednesday.
FARMINGTON — Thousands of San Juan County voters have already cast their ballots and the county clerk said the number of early voters may exceed the turnout from the last presidential election when early voting ends Saturday night.

At the end of the day Tuesday, 14,633 county voters had cast a ballot, San Juan County Clerk Debbie Holmes said.

Of the 14,633 voters, 8,709 were registered Republicans and 4,262 were registered Democrats, she said.

In 2008, 18,469 residents took advantage of early voting, Holmes said.

Farmington Museum at Gateway Park is seeing between 600 and 800 early voters a day, making it the most popular early voting place, she said. Early voting can also be done at the County Clerk's Office in Aztec, the Bloomfield Cultural Center and the county fire stations in Shiprock and Newcomb.

Voters who have to decide competitive local races are casting the most ballots.

There were 4,730 voters within the boundaries of County Commission District 4 who have voted early, which is 27 percent of all registered voters in that district. District 4 includes northeast Farmington, from 20th street and Dustin Avenue to the subdivisions in Flora Vista. Republican Jack Fortner and Democrat Sam Lasater are running for the seat on the commission.

In District 5, which includes southwest Farmington and extends north near N.M. 170 to the state line, 2,632 voters have cast ballots.


Voters in that district will select between Republican Keith Johns and Ron Lyman, an independent candidate, for a spot on the county commission.

Voters in District 3, which includes Bloomfield and Aztec, have cast 3,055 ballots. Republican Scott Eckstein is running unopposed for a county commission in District 3 but there are more reasons why the district has cast the second-most ballots so far.

Early voting in Aztec has been open since Oct. 9 at the county clerk's office. The other early voting centers in San Juan County opened Oct. 20.

And Bloomfield voters have a competitive race to decide for Magistrate Judge Division 4, which is between Republican Gary McDaniel and Democrat Trudy Reed. About 13 percent of registered voters in the Magistrate Judge Division 4 have already cast a ballot. That division includes most of San Juan County south of the San Juan River and parts of Bloomfield.

County Commission districts 1 and 2, which include large swaths of unincorporated areas and the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, have had 1,767 and 1,949 voters, respectively, Holmes said.

Pat Cordell, the San Juan County Republican Party chairman, said stark differences between presidential and senate candidates, particularly in their energy policies, are motivating county Republicans to vote.

"It seems like independents and undecided voters are few and far between," he said. "A lot of people have very strong ideas ... and a clear choice between candidates."

Diane McCants, the San Juan County Democrat Party chairwoman, said county Democrats are enthusiastic to vote because of the momentum Democrats throughout the state will carry into Election Day.

In the senate and presidential race in New Mexico, for example, Democrats Martin Heinrich and President Obama are ahead of Republican competition Heather Wilson and Gov. Mitt Romney by 10 points in each race, according to an average of several polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, a polling organization.

"New Mexico is on track," she said. "We know when it's all said and done that we are going to carry the day."

Election Day is Tuesday.