Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

City, county officials educated on new election processes

 

May 9, 2018



More than 40 county and city officials from across eastern New Mexico learned about the House Bill 98 that will consolidate all elections through county clerk offices.

This will go into effect July 1, repealing all municipal election code with the state’s election code, said Sen. Daniel Ivy-Soto.

Soto spoke to the county clerks, city clerks and the deputy clerks during a presentation on May 2 at the Quay County Fairgrounds.

Counties and cities attending included Tucumcari, Quay County, Clayton, Harding County, Union County, Santa Rosa and Quadalupe County.

Soto said the purpose of the meeting was to introduce the language of HB 98 and explain the impact and benefits of the recently passed legislation. He said while there are still some areas of the bill being worked out but for the most part, it will simplify elections and lower the cost of elections held by municipalities, school boards and soil, water conservation districts.

The election costs will be paid for by the funds gathered from an annual assessment paid to the Secretary of State, said Ellen White, Quay County Clerk.

White said through this bill, the cost of holding an election will be greatly reduced. She said normally an election can cost between $3,000 and $8,000.

Soto said those entities that opt into this plan will pay $250 per million of the general fund expenditures. He said for Tucumcari that would be an annual assessment of $1,250 and for Logan $250 per year.

“The funds would pay for the poll workers, polling places, publication and ballots,” Soto said.

Soto said through the bill, all elections would be handled by the county clerk’s office. He said the canvas would be conducted by the county commission with a second canvas done by the Secretary of State.

White said the regular local elections would be held in November of the odd-numbered years. She said Municipal Officer elections would be held in March of the even number years.

Soto said any special elections would be conducted by a mail ballot. He said residents wanting to participate in those elections would need to ensure their address is correct on their voter registration.

“With the county clerk handling the election, what level of publication, advertisement would city clerks need to complete during a municipal election?” asked Rosalee Rachor, Village of Logan Clerk.

Soto said the publication and advertisement would be handled through a proclamation from the Secretary of State’s Office. He said any further publication or advertisement of the election would be done by the County Clerk’s office.

Soto said there are options for municipalities who want to opt out of the proposed legislation. He said there would be additional meetings held to discuss any updates or changes to the legislation.

 
 

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