When Las Cruces attorney Deborah Thuman went to fill out her ballot in early voting last weekend, she noticed something missing. Absent from the single-page paper were a number of judicial races — contests she’s keenly interested in because of her legal profession. It listed the heading for the judgeships, but there were no candidates.
The page was only partly printed. “I don’t know what happened, but I only got half a ballot,” Thuman said in a recent interview. “I got a defective ballot.”
Thuman and her husband had been first in line to vote at the Branigan Library on Saturday morning — one of half a dozen early-voting sites across Doña Ana County. Her husband’s ballot was printed from one printer, and her ballot was printed from a different printer. “He got a perfectly good ballot,” she said.
After discovering the problem, Thuman said she talked to poll workers, who took the defective ballot and issued a second, complete ballot. She filled it out and cast her vote OK. But Thuman said she left the voting booth concerned. How widespread is the problem of partially printed ballots? Would a less-attentive voter happen to catch that certain races were missing?
Plus, Thuman said she thought the polling place should feature sample ballots, to let people know what to expect. Asked about the situation, Deputy County Clerk Mario Jimenez said he was aware of Thuman’s case. The problem was likely because someone accidentally didn’t allow the printer to finish before handing it to Thuman, he said. “That would happen if they accidentally stopped the process in the middle of printing,” he said. “It’s human error.”