"Vote Here" signs in front of the Otero County Administration Building on New York Avenue in Alamogordo.

From counting to consequences: Your guide to how ballots are counted and what happens if a county refuses to certify an election

After a year that included a southern New Mexico county commission refusing to certify a primary election, misinformation about New Mexico’s election security and how it has affected voter turnout, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks are ready for Election Day next week. “(The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office) is feeling good about it, no reports of anything bad happening as far as we know,” New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said. “It seems people are voting easily and without disruption we’re getting pretty good turnout numbers… I wouldn’t be surprised if we got upwards of 60 percent for total turnout when all is said and done.”

On election night on Nov. 8, votes will be counted after the polls close at 7 p.m.

These include the absentee ballots which begin being processed (separated from the envelopes and shuffled to preserve voter anonymity) prior to election night. The absentee ballots are not run through machines until after polls close on Nov.

Bernalillo County seeks applicants for vacant state senate seat

The Bernalillo County Commission is looking for applicants for the vacant District 26 New Mexico State Senate seat. The Bernalillo County Manager’s Office will accept applications through noon Nov. 10. The Commission is expected to discuss and possibly make a decision for who to appoint for the District 26 Senate seat at its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Bernalillo County Commission fight over when to fill state senate vacancy

Jacob Candelaria left an open seat when he resigned his position in the State Senate on Oct. 19. The district, 26, is completely within Bernalillo County, which means that the task of replacing Candelaria falls to the Bernalillo County Commission. During a discussion of upcoming meetings at its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Bernalillo County Commission fell into heated discussion about the timing of naming a replacement for Candelaria. 

No decisions were made at the meeting. Initially, Bernalillo County Commission Chairwoman Adriann Barboa suggested Nov.

UNM Law students help land grants, colonias and acequias with legal assistance

The Community Governance Attorney Program, established in 2019, helps colonias, acequias and land grants when they need legal assistance by partnering them with law students. Elisabeth Gutierrez of Las Cruces and Victoria Lovato of Ojo Caliente are third-year University of New Mexico School of Law students participating in the Community Governance Attorney Program. Participants in the program presented the Community Governance Attorney Program’s progress at the Land Grant Committee meeting on Oct. 20 in Chilili. “Today is a very special day because this is a program that took years of work by the (Land Grant Committee) to make this come to fruition,” Mark Edwards of the New Mexico Legislative Council Service said.

Candelaria resigns from NM Senate

State Senator Jacob Candelaria, DTS-Albuquerque, announced that he resigned his position in the state senate effective at noon on Wednesday. “There is a time for all things under heaven,” Candelaria posted to his Twitter account. “Public service is a great blessing, but now is the time for me and my family to open a new and exciting chapter of life. My heart is full, and I feel a great sense of joy and accomplishment.”

Candelaria served in the state Senate since 2013. He was a registered Democrat until 2021 when he changed his registration to Decline to State, or DTS.  He was the only decline to state member of the Senate.

Proposed Ronchetti tax plan discussed

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti has proposed a tax plan that includes tax cuts that his main general election opponent says is not feasible. The proposed tax plan includes permanent tax cuts for middle and low-income workers, rebates from state income from oil and gas, economic incentives for businesses wanting to move to New Mexico and create jobs and a small business rescue plan. The proposed plan indicates that all New Mexicans would receive $100 for every $1 billion in oil and gas revenues New Mexico receives. “Right now the state of New Mexico has one of the worst tax structures in the country for small businesses and people from all over the political spectrum agree that it needs to change,” Ronchetti campaign spokesman Ryan Sabel said in response to an inquiry from NM Political Report. “The New Mexico State Government has never been richer, and [Gov.] Michelle Lujan Grisham has grown the government by 40 percent while our people are struggling to get to the end of the month.