Assessing Electoral Performance in the New Mexico 2010 General Election

Alex N. Adams
University of New Mexico
Lisa Bryant

The 2010 New Mexico Election Administration Report represents a systematic examination of New Mexico's November 2010 General election. It is the third election report in a series that we began unintentionally in 2006 with our academic partners R. Michael Alvarez, professor at the California Institute of Technology, and Thad E. Hall, associate professor at the University of Utah. To our knowledge, no other state has had the kind of sustained and independent analysis over multiple elections. But New Mexico is a unique environment culturally, politically, and electorally and project partners, the Secretary of State's office, and the broader electoral community, made up of a variety of activists organizations, have supported and encouraged our efforts. Moreover, feedback on our work from regular voters, poll workers as well as responsiveness by local election administrators has made our efforts productive and helpful as New Mexico continues to reform its electoral processes.

In this report, we combine qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the New Mexico election landscape. We think the key to improving elections is to collect and analyze the experiences of voters, poll workers, and administrators systematically. Together these data provide a portrait of the election experience from which problems and successes can be identified and confirmed from multiple players. Our research design is a multi-pronged evaluation strategy. Combining data from different electoral actors provides multiple perspectives from key players and groups to assess how well the election was run and how the management of the election can be improved in future elections.

In 2007, we released our research on the 2006 New Mexico Election Administration Report. At the beginning of 2010, we released our 2008 Ecosystem report. The 2006 and 2008 reports provide points of comparison for how the system is evolving since the implementation of a statewide optical scan paper ballot system in 2006. We use these data wherever possible to assist us in determining where improvement or deteriorations have occurred.

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