Officials discuss election changes
September 11, 2019
The county clerk and one commissioner during Monday’s Quay County Commission meeting discussed how new laws led to changes in the upcoming Nov. 5 nonpartisan local elections, prompting confusion from a few county residents.
County Clerk Ellen White said no one sample ballot would be available because more than two-dozen election races in the county would produce about 50 different ballots.
However, White said her office could print a sample ballot for each individual if he or she requested it. She said sample ballots also are generated at the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website at NMvote.org.
Responding to a question from District I Commissioner Sue Dowell, White also clarified that county Districts II and III had not switched as anticipated. She said a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court threw out a law that switched those districts, and the court ordered them reverted to their “status quo” positions. Commissioners Mike Cherry and Franklin McCasland are in Districts II and III, respectively.
White said county commissioner districts and other boundaries are redrawn, if necessary, after the U.S. Census every 10 years. She said a vendor is hired to take census data and adjust district boundaries. White said a small change in county district borders occurred 20 years ago, and a “slight” change in school districts happened 10 years ago. The next changes would occur in 2021.
White said her office has made an election information card available to the public.
White provided a handout of important data for the 2019 election, including:
• Oct. 8: Last day to register by mail or online;
• Oct. 8 to Nov. 2: Early voting occurs at Quay County Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Nov. 2: Last day to register in person at Quay County Clerk’s Office;
• Election Day voting centers will be in the Tucumcari Convention Center, House Community Center, San Jon Community Center and Logan Civic Center.
On another matter, county manager Richard Primrose said a previously set Nov. 8 meeting to approve a canvass of the Nov. 5 election must be rescheduled to 1 p.m. Nov. 12. A new state law requires canvassing six to 10 days following an election.
In other business by the commission:
• It approved an application for a Homeland Security grant of $41,016.94 to set up a radio-transmission repeater and base station on the caprock south of San Jon on county property. Quay County Emergency Management coordinator Daniel Zamora those would improve radio coverage to sheriff’s deputies on the county’s east side. The sheriff’s department has only one radio repeater, at the top of Tucumcari Mountain.
• It approved Zamora’s application to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to buy electrical generators for nine rural fire districts. The cost would be $126,488.
• It approved Quay County Detention Center administrator Christopher Birch’s recommendation to approve a juvenile resident confinement agreement with the Santa Fe County. Birch said the cost to house juveniles from Quay County, which doesn’t have a juvenile-detention center, at Santa Fe County would be $225 a day. Primrose noted the Santa Fe County pact is a “last resort” because it has other and less-expensive options in Clovis, Albuquerque and Roswell. Birch said Quay County on average detains about 15 juveniles per year.
• It approved an application from county fire marshal Lucas Bugg for a low-interest loan from the state to buy a tanker/pumper firetruck for Rural Fire District No. 2. The cost of the truck is $450,000.
• It approved new bylaws for the Quay County Fire Department and fire district. Bugg said several rural fire departments didn’t have bylaws at all. He said he consulted with firefighters there before sending a final version to the commission.
• It approved a proclamation that Sept. 23-29 will be Falls Prevention Awareness Week in the county. Brenda Bishop, the new Quay County Health Council coordinator who recently retired from the Quay County Cooperative Extension Service, said it assesses places where senior citizens might be a greater fall risk and educated 200 people at the Tucumcari Senior Citizens Center on fall prevention. She said fall screenings would be done that week at the senior center and likely in Logan.
• It approved the recognition of the Quay County Health Council, as required by state law. Bishop said the council, which has existed since 1991, in recent years saw its state funding restored after losing it in the early 2000s.
• C. Renee Hayoz, Presbyterian Medical Services administrator, said seasonal influenza vaccines recently had shipped and that her agency soon would schedule shots for county employees. She said the number of medical encounters in August totaled 402, below the goal of 442. Hayoz said the number was “slowly coming back up” after the agency hired a new medical provider.