ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A heated election within the Albuquerque Public School District wrapped up Tuesday. More than 144,000 people voted against increasing their property taxes to help APS pay for improvements to school buildings and increased security.
County officials say nearly 29 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. They said in recent APS elections, only have been in mid-single digit percentage range.
Dozens of voters showed at the drop-off location on the sixth floor of the County Building in Civic Plaza, even though it was a mail-in election.
At a downtown location, 130 people dropped off their ballots by 10 a.m., and several more submitted drop-off ballots by lunchtime.
“We're running 28 percent approximately on the voter turnout for APS; a normal walk-in election for APS normally runs 3 to 4 percent,” Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover said.
Stover said the last time we had a mail-in election was in the '90s. So mailing in a ballot is foreign for a lot of New Mexico voters.
The process received a lot of mixed reviews.
“I’m not too thrilled with mail-in ballots in the first place, there's far too many ways it can be fraudulent,” voter Mike Campbell said.
“It’s convenient, I really do like the ability to just mail in,” Anthony Munn said. “I'm from Washington State and we're used to that. You get the whole packet, you fill it out and drop it off at the post office or a mailbox.”
The county clerk told KOAT she feels the reason for the higher than normal voter turnout is because people were able to mail their ballots in and said that could very well be the future of voting in New Mexico.
APS superintendent Raquel Reedy released the following statement Tuesday night:
“The ballots have been counted and the voters have made their wishes clear. The majority voted against a bond/mill levy package that would have paid to improve student safety, rebuild and repair our schools and refresh our technology and equipment. We are disappointed, of course. But we respect the democratic process and the will of the electorate. We appreciate all of those who rallied on behalf of our school district. Now we will need to reassess our situation and come up with a plan for addressing issues that come with aging schools.”