By Eric Butler: CNJ CORRESPONDENT
The combination of the availability of an alternate early voting site with the interest sparked by the district attorney’s race sent more Republicans to the polls in 2004 than the previous primary election.
For the Democratic Party, where only one race was contested — State Senate District 7 — significantly less voters came out than in 2002.
In Curry County, 3,173 Republicans and 1,286 Democrats voted in this year’s primary.
There are 8,798 registered Republicans and 8,163 registered Democrats in Curry County.
Republican totals were up from the 2,616 who voted in 2002 while the amount of Democrats voting was significantly down from the 2,991 number tallied in the last primary.
“The DA’s race is definitely what has created more voters early,” said Curry County Clerk Mario Trujillo on the increase of Republicans particularly.
Almost 40 percent of the votes cast in Curry County were done so by early or absentee voters.
Of the 1,747 total absentee votes, 1,514 people came to either the courthouse or voted early at the mall.
It was the first time in a primary election that the mall site, where 569 votes were cast, had been utilized for early voting. It had been used once before for the special election for governor last September, according to Deputy Clerk Paula Miller.
“If you have over 10,000 registered voters, you’re required by the state to have an alternative voting site,” Miller said.