Come the new year, more than 13,000 residents of Santa Fe County are set to become city residents via annexation. The vast majority—roughly 11,000 people—live just north and south of Tierra Contenta, a mixed-income community on the city’s south side that falls into council District 3. Just what this means for the March municipal election remains unknown.
A look at the US Census tracts that overlap the soon-to-beannexed area shows that nearly 70 percent of residents are of voting age. But District 3, which contains more residents under the poverty line than the rest of the city, is notorious for its low voter turnout. As of press time, District 3 had just over 8,000 registered voters, which is half as many of the 16,000 voters registered in the more affluent District 1 (each district has a roughly equal amount of residents). And to make matters more uncertain, just 14 percent of the low number of registered District 3 voters actually turned out to vote in the 2012 city election.
Those who live in the to-be-annexed area and are already on the voter roles need not worry about at least one thing. "Voters will not have to re-register," says Eric Barraza, the chief deputy of Santa Fe County's Bureau of Elections. Instead, the county plans to transfer the registered voters onto to city voting rolls next month. Then, the new city voters will be alerted of their changed status and their eligibility to vote in the upcoming city elections. "They'll get a new [voter] card and we'll send letters [to them]," Barraza says. (Joey Peters)