Voting in McKinley County


How will it work?

If the idea of voting in the 2020 Presidential Election has you flustered, Marlene Custer has answers that will help.

Custer, the director of the McKinley County Board of Elections says there are several options for voters in this election.

People concerned about standing in lines in the COVID-19 pandemic can use the mail-in option, which she also calls an absentee ballot.

“There’s only one ballot and they are tabulated the same way,” Custer told the Gallup Sun Aug. 18 “unless you are voting in person.”

Custer says people will be able to vote in person, if they choose. They can go to their regular voting locations to cast their ballots, and will also have the option of visiting Voting Convenience Centers.

Each voting site is now required to be a VCC. The voting convenience centers tailor each person’s ballot combination based on their specific district.

“Anybody can vote anywhere, within your own county,” she said.

Early voting begins Oct. 6.

If someone applies for a mail-in/absentee ballot and goes to a polling place to vote in-person, the absentee ballot must be deleted before they can cast a vote at an in-person location.


Custer says the bureau of elections is currently working with the Navajo Nation, the Department of Justice, the election office and the Division of Community Development to determine how voting will take place on Navajo Nation sites. They are meeting weekly.

Testing for internet connectivity is underway on the Navajo Nation. Final determinations will be left to the tribe.

“So far we know that every site is going to be open,” she said. “There are two sites that have issues — Mariana Lake Chapter is going to be demolished Aug. 25, [so] that may be moved.

“Smith Lake Chapter has a food distribution warehouse,” Custer explained. “Efforts are underway to find a senior center or veterans association, so people can vote nearby.”

Custer expects to know where all the Navajo Nation voting sites will be located within two weeks.

Anyone who hasn’t received a mail-in ballot application by now, can call (505) 722-4469 or (800) 245-1771, request one online at sos.state.nm.us, or visit the office at the McKinley County Courthouse (207 W. Hill Ave.) Monday - Friday between 8 am - 12 pm and 1 pm-5 pm.

By Beth Blakeman
Associate Editor