County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy announced that Otero County has received approximately 2,050 ballots returned since state ballots shipped on Oct. 15. Sisnroy made the announcement at a meeting of the Otero Board of County Commissioners, during which she also received approval to close the Clerk & Recorder's office on Tuesday to all matters unrelated to the election.

"We still have a week," Sisnroy said at the meeting Monday. "We sent out almost 11,000 ballots.

"I want to let the voters know what happens once they drop it into the ballot box, and to ensure them that none of my employees or myself handled the voted ballots."

According to the Clerk & Recorder's office, there were 10,909 registered voters in Otero County as of Oct. 15, the day  election ballots began shipping to constituents across the state.

Of that number, 3,278 individuals were registered as Democrats, 3,928 as Republican and 3,703 unaffiliated.

Sisnroy couldn't speak to the party affiliation split between returned ballots since Oct. 15.

Regarding the process once ballots are returned, Sisnroy said, "We check it in [returned ballots], bundle them in, bundle them by 25, seal up the ballot box. Our team of judges, which are bipartisan judges, take the box downstairs to the room across the hall and they process them."

From there, Sisnroy said that five judges — two Republicans, two Democrats and one unaffiliated — confirm signatures on the ballots before removing them from their envelopes and preparing to send them through the ballot scanner.

"We don't start scanning them until about Monday before the election," Sisnroy said. "It depends on how busy we are."

Ballot drop boxes are available across Otero County: at the Fowler City Clerk's office, in the Rocky Ford City Clerk's office, on the east side of the Otero County Courthouse parking lot, and within the courthouse, in the Clerk & Recorder's office.

Ballots need to be placed in one of the drop boxes no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday.