The fate of a ballot question the Taos County clerk failed to put on the ballot in two of the county’s precincts is still up in the air.
The $2.4 million annual property tax proposal would help subsidize the cost of associate degree programs at Northern New Mexico College by providing more dual-credit options for high school students, allowing them to earn college credits for free.
The measure passed Tuesday night in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, where the bulk of the eligible voters for the ballot question live.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s office, as per state statute, is working on a report for the State Canvassing Board. The report will include the Taos County issue and any other discrepancies found in the election returns, a spokesman for the office said Friday.
Spokesman Alex Curtas said the Canvassing Board will meet Nov. 26 to certify the election results.
“Our office is committed to understanding how this error occurred and ensuring that such an error will not repeat itself in the next election,” Curtas said.
It’s possible the issue could end up in court. Curtas said affected parties are free to file legal challenges.
Taos County Clerk Anna Martinez couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Officials have pointed out that the number of voters who turned out Tuesday in those Taos precincts — 54 — would not be enough to change the results from Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties, where the measure was approved by more than 2,300 votes.
A written statement from the college Friday said its president Rick Bailey “is actively working with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office and the Taos County Clerk’s Office to resolve the issue as soon as possible. While the number of voters in Taos County is not significant enough to affect the outcome of the election, the omission of the question from those ballots raises questions about how the tax could be applied moving forward.
“The support for the initiative was so overwhelming,” Bailey said in the statement. “I feel confident that we have a very strong mandate from the public to move forward.”