Secretary of State Mary Herrera predicted a statewide turnout of 80% in New Mexico in the general election of 2008, in a story to the Associated Press. Other election officials estimated a turnout of just 73%. Actually, the figure was more like 67%. According to a report issued on November 6 by American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate, 798,986 people voted in New Mexico this year in the general election. This represents almost exactly 67 percent of the 1,192,989 registered voters on October 31 of this year.
67% is not bad, although it is lower than the 70% that voted in 2004. That year 775,301 persons voted in New Mexico, 23,685 fewer than voted this year. This year voter registration drives appear to have been successful in registering a record number of voters, but apparently a smaller proportion of them voted in comparison with 2004. These are preliminary figures, but if they hold up they would indicate that the predictions of record turnouts did not materialize.
The above stats are based on voter registration figures. At the national level several states do not publish voter registration figures, making cross-state comparisons impossible to calculate. Instead, some analysts calculate the voting age population in each state, which can be adjusted to eliminate persons not eligible to vote because they are not citizens or are incarcerated, on parole, mentally incompetent, etc. The Center for the Study of the American Electorate, in a preliminary study of the 2008 elections, estimates that in the U.S. 208,323,000 persons were eligible to vote (not necessarily registered) and that, of these between 126.5 million and 128.5 million will have voted after all the votes are counted. By this calculation turnout this year was between 60.7% and 61.7% nationwide, compared to 60.6% in 2004 and 54.2% in 2000. This is below many estimates of voter turnout set at about 136 million voters, or 64% of eligible voters.
The New Mexico figures according to this methodology are as follows: 1,346,000 persons were of voting age and U.S. citizens, and 798,986 people voted, for a turnout rate of 59.3%, almost exactly one percent higher than in 2004.