Grassroots groups gear up for early voting

Posted at: 10/13/2012 7:14 PM
Updated at: 10/14/2012 5:01 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's a busy weekend for grassroots politics in New Mexico with early voting under way and Election Day just 24 days away.

The "Obama's Failing Agenda" tour bus rolled into Albuquerque Saturday - a full size passenger bus painted with anti-Obama slogans and messages

In recent days it has made stops in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Clovis, and Roswell. And in Albuquerque it attracted a small crowd at a construction yard near Balloon Fiesta Park.

"It's a national tour," said Joseph Montes of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group sponsoring the event. "This specific bus is one of three travelling to key states around the country, expanding the philosophy that we have too much government. We're about economic freedom and individual liberty. In a press release group proclaims that is "does not expressly advocate for the success or defeat of any candidate for public office."

Meanwhile, a few miles away Democratic party volunteers gathered at the combined campaign headquarters of U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich and House of Representatives candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham.

It was an afternoon of walking neighborhood streets, door knocking, leaving leaflets and chatting with potential voters. Operations like this are called the "ground game." It's all about turning out core supporters who then encourage less-motivated voters to get busy and cast their ballots.

"We're pretty busy all the time now on weekends," volunteer Dave Breault said. "This is a huge crowd right now, kind of a pep rally. It's all about turning out the vote."

All of this political activity has a new sense of urgency as Election Day approaches.

Absentee voting  started Oct. 9 at county clerk's offices across the state, and will move into warp speed when voting centers open next Saturday. Bernalillo County will have 16  up and running.

Politicians like to say that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day, but Election Day is now, with more than 60 percent of New Mexico voters expected to cast their ballots before the old-fashioned Election Day on Nov. 6.