A woman passing out pamphlets about conservative judges and a man supporting Republican candidate for Bernalillo County Sheriff Paul Pacheco were seen campaigning at the edges of the polling location at Holly Plaza Tuesday afternoon.
A Voter Information Advisory for the 2022 general election, produced by the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State and New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, specifies what is prohibited at voting locations. According to the document, electioneering is prohibited within 100 feet of a polling location or secured, monitored ballot drop box, as per the New Mexico Election Code.
The document says, “Electioneering includes the display or distribution of signs or campaign literature, campaign buttons, T-shirts, hats, pins or other such items and includes the verbal or electronic solicitation of votes for a candidate or question.”
Janet Mitrovich was seen passing out sample ballots and pamphlets about conservative judges to voters as they stood in line at the Holly Plaza voting center. When confronted by a poll worker, Mitrovich said she was well outside the 100-foot boundary around the voting center.
“You don’t have to keep repeating yourself, but I am told by Giovanna, who works as the manager for the judges, that I am allowed to do this 100 feet from the door and if you need the statute I can pull it up on my phone,” Mitrovich told the poll worker.
The worker wore a badge identifying herself as Mary Ann Costello, a Republican exceptions judge for Voting Convenience Center 11. The confrontation went on for about a minute:
Costello: “I know, that’s for the signs, but you’re campaigning the people who are coming to the door.”
Mitrovich: “No, it’s not just for the signs. I can hand out literature, ma’am.”
Costello: “No, you can’t.”
Mitrovich: “Yes, I can.”
Costello: “No, you can’t.”
Mitrovich: “The precinct judge came out to me and said I could as long as they aren’t carrying it in.”
Costello: “They are carrying it in.”
Mitrovich: “Well I’m telling them not to.”
Costello: “What are they going to do with it? OK, I’ll bring a wastebasket out so they can throw it right in.”
Mitrovich: “That’s a good idea!”
Costello: “I’ll do that.”
Mitrovich: “OK, you do that.”
Costello proceeded to get a wastebasket and asked voters standing in line to toss the pamphlets, which many of them did. Mitrovich continued to pass out pamphlets to voters coming to stand at the end of the line.
Supporter stumps for sheriff candidate in parking lot outside VCC11
Brian McCutcheon was sitting in the back of a pickup truck with a large sign reading “Pacheco For Sheriff.” McCutcheon was several hundred feet from the Voting Convenience Center but the sign was clearly visible to voters standing in line waiting to vote.
He said he had been in that parking spot for about two hours as of 3:45 p.m. and was minding his own business. McCutcheon said he was not being paid and was 100% a volunteer who knows Pacheco personally.
When asked why it is important to vote, McCutcheon said, “Oh that. If you wanna change, if you’re happy with how things have been for the last four or five years, then don’t come out and vote. If you need a change, come out and vote.”
According to McCutcheon, the line of voters stayed steadily long, wrapping around the side of the Skechers building at many points in the two hours he’d been out there.
At around 3:55 p.m., Costello said over 1,700 votes had been cast at VCC11 since polls opened at 7 a.m. As of 8:11 p.m., the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website showed that 319,891 ballots had been cast statewide.
The website says there are 1,364,559 registered voters in New Mexico and 450,307 registered voters in Bernalillo County.