"To promote public confidence by providing the very highest level of courteous and efficient service. Also, to insure the highest possible degree of integrity of the County's election process through administration of all federal, state, and local election laws in a uniform, consistent and accessible manner."
Local Election Act
The Local Election Act was passed via House Bill 98 by the New Mexico Legislature in 2018 and went into effect July 1, 2018. The Local Election Act repealed the Municipal and School Board Election Codes and requires all elections that fall within the impacted districts to follow the uniform procedures of the Election Code. The Local Election Act also establishes two new statewide elections which include: a Local Election to be held every November of odd-numbered years for non-partisan officers and local government ballot questions and a Municipal Officer Election every March of even-numbered years (for municipalities that do not Opt In by ordinance).
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Local Elections Act do?
• Establishes a statewide Local Election every November of odd-numbered years for non-partisan officers and local government ballot questions.
• Establishes a Municipal Officer Election every March of even-numbered years.
• Creates uniform procedures for special elections to include, all mail, postage pre-paid ballots.
• Sets uniform election procedures for the conduct, and canvass of all elections
• Increase voter participation by ensuring the public knows when elections are held each year.
• Allows for voters interested in local issues to vote for all non-partisan offices and local questions at one time using the same rules of conduct each time.
Which Districts that are impacted by the Local Election Act?
The following districts must hold elections during the Local Election:
• School Districts including public school boards and community colleges
• Soil & Water Conservation Districts
• Arroyo Flood Control Districts
• Water & Sanitation Districts
• Special Hospital Districts
• Special Zoning Districts
• In 2023: Conservancy & Watershed Districts
• Municipal Districts have the option of opting-in to the Local Election.
Under the Local Elections Act, what are the temporary provisions of an elected local government officer’s term?
Term Set to Expire New Expiration Under Successive Term under Local Election Act Local Election Act
On or before June 30, 2020 December 31, 2019 January 1, 2020
On or before July 1, 2020 December 31, 2021 January 1, 2022
On or before July 1, 2022 December 31, 2023 January 1, 2024
When a municipality chooses to opt-in, by ordinance;
• Municipal elections will appear on the Local Election ballot each November of the odd-numbered year.
2019 Includes the City of Belen and the City of Rio Communities
2021 Includes the Village of Los Lunas and the Town of Peralta
• The County Clerk conducts all regular local elections and special elections.
When a municipality chooses not to opt-in or takes no action towards the Local Election;
• Municipal Officer Elections remain in March of even-numbered years (may also include ballot questions).
2020 Includes the Village of Bosque Farms
• The Municipal Election Code and School Board Election Code have been repealed, requiring all elections to follow the uniform procedures of the Election Code.
• The Municipal Clerk will still conduct and pay for regular and special municipal elections.
• The County Clerk will still run recall elections.
• The Municipal Officer Election will fall within the Election Cycle, as defined in 1-1-3.1, NMSA, 1978.
Under the Local Elections Act, will all special elections be mail-only?
Yes, all voters in the district will automatically be mailed an absentee ballot to include a return envelope with pre-paid postage; no polling places will be established. Special elections are for ballot questions, including recall elections, but are not used to elect vacancies for local officers. Costs for the special election are the responsibility of the local government calling for the election and costs are reimbursable to the county clerks. Special elections are conducted by the county clerk.
Can Local Election Questions appear on the General Election Ballot?
Yes, if there is space on the ballot and the Local Election question has been approved by the county commission no later than 70 days before the election, the question may be placed on the ballot. Currently, school board district questions are prohibited by the NM Constitution from being placed on the General Election Ballot.
In Accordance to the Election Code;
Restrictions on Local Government Elections (1-12-71, NMSA 1978)
No municipal, county or special district election or special local election shall be held within seventy days prior to or following any statewide election and no municipal top-two runoff election may be held within fifty days prior to any statewide election. This section does not prohibit a local government ballot question authorized by the board of county commissioners from appearing on the General Election ballot or Regular Local Election ballot. As used in this section, “statewide election” means a Primary, General or special statewide election or a regular local election as provided in the Local Election Act.
Additional Questions (1-16-8, NMSA 1978)
No less than seventy days prior to the election, county or local government questions to be submitted for appearance on the General Election ballot. The form for question(s) on the ballot not statewide in application to be submitted to voters of a particular county or local government shall be furnished by the county clerk, and a copy of the resolution proposing the question(s) shall be sent by the county clerk to the Secretary of State not less than seventy days prior to the election. In each case, the questions shall conform as nearly as practicable to the form required for ballots on proposed constitutional amendments.
Polling Locations – Sections 1-3-2 to 1-3-8, NMSA 1978
How are polling locations determined? The board of county commissioners shall by resolution designate the polling place of each precinct, and consolidate precincts for the regular local election in June or July of each odd numbered year.
The Valencia County Commission will approve by resolution, the Voting Convenience Centers for the Local Election and the Primary and General Elections of 2020, in June or July of 2019.
Candidates—Sections 1-22-7, 1-22-8.1, 1-22-9 NMSA 1978
How does someone become a candidate for the election? Individuals seeking candidacy shall file a declaration of candidacy on the 70th day before the local election between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. A candidate shall file for only one position in the same local government but may file for a position in more than one local government during a filing period. Individuals may be a write-in candidate only if the person has the qualifications to be a candidate for the position for which the person is running. A person desiring to be a write-in candidate for an office shall file a declaration of candidacy on the 63rd day before the election between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Candidates that make changes to their voter registrations must have this completed before the Secretary of State issues the Local Election Proclamation.
The Secretary of State issues the Local Election Proclamation on August 7, 2019
Candidate filing day is August 27, 2019 from 9AM to 5PM