Even concerned citizens paying attention might not realize that a campaign season is taking place — and, no, we’re not talking about competitions to be president of the United States or represent New Mexico in the Senate or Congress.
No, the election that matters right now is one that will take place Nov. 5, less than a month away. And Tuesday is the last day to register to vote for this important election — the one that features people we likely know running for offices where decisions are made that affect our daily lives.
On the regular local election ballot this November will be races for Santa Fe city offices, Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education and the Santa Fe Community College Governing Board. Tuesday also is the first day of absentee-in-person voting at the Santa Fe County Clerk’s office, 102 Grant Ave. Efficient citizens can register to vote and then cast a ballot immediately, but only in the county clerk’s office. Orthey can request that an absentee ballot be sent to them. That’s because Tuesday also is the first day to apply for an absentee ballot for mail-in voting.
If this sounds new, that’s because it is.
New Mexico lawmakers decided to consolidate all nonpartisan local elections on odd years in November, passing the 2018 Local Election Act. The idea is that more people will vote if the different local elections are conducted at once. Additionally, there will be a consistency in knowing that every second Tuesday in November, an election will take place.
Candidates we have spoken to, however, say that voters still are adjusting to the changes. City council hopefuls are being asked why they are knocking on doors so early — voters were used to municipal elections in March. School elections used to be held in February. Again, the hope is that once voters adjust, more people will take part. (Partisan primaries will continue to be held in June, with the general election in November, during years ending in even numbers.)
We supported the consolidation of local elections — as a nation and state, we need more citizens to take part. Voting is more than a right, it is a responsibility. And it makes sense to vote in the elections closest to home — elections where individual votes not only count, they can make the difference in electing Candidate X over Candidate Y.
Make sure to register, if you are not already. Become informed about the issues and the candidates. And then vote. The future of our city and our schools depends on what happens.