Update, 9:25 p.m. It appears the sugar tax hike has failed, according to unofficial returns.
Voters appear to have overwhelmingly rejected a 2-cents-an-ounce tax hike on sugary beverages, including sodas, teas and juices. The tax was favored by Mayor Javier Gonzales and his coalition in Santa Fe.
Ad spending on both sides of the issue — those in favor of the tax and those against — topped $2 million, and passions ran hot in the run-up to what may have been Santa Fe's highest turnout ever in a special election. Nearly 38 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots.
With 3,000 early voter ballots still to count at City Hall, "against" was outpacing "for" by more than 2,500 votes, unofficial results showed.
Be sure to grab a copy of tomorrow's SFR for reporting from our Matt Grubs and Aaron Cantú.
Update, 9:04 p.m.: With a mix of Election Day and early voting totals coming in, "against" appears to be pulling away in the sugary drink tax hike election.
The most recent totals, according to the City Clerk's office, are 8,999 against, and 5,921 for.
The clerk also reports a possible record turnout for a special election in Santa Fe, with nearly 38 percent of registered voters casitng ballots.
Update, 8:47 p.m.: "Against" voters have moved their cause ahead in the sugary beverage tax hike special election in Santa Fe by a a little more than 670 votes, with five voting convenience centers reporting.
The current count stands at 3,843 against, and 3,171 for. Southside Library and Kearney Elementary just pushed "against" ahead.
We have our first three sets of voting totals in the sugar tax special election, one of the most contentious and high-turnout in the city's history. Two of the three sites returned favorable results for those who wish to raise taxes on sodas and other sugary beverages.
At Montezuma Lodge, Santa Fe's northernmost voting convenience center, voters favored the tax by a margin of 1,033 to 787, according to unofficial results posted at the site.
Voters at Saint John Methodist church on Cordova approved the tax -- 1,235 to 936.
And among those who voted at the Christian Life Church, 872 people voted against the tax, against just 436 who voted for it.
That leaves the total vote for those three centers at 2,704 for, and 2,595 against.
After five months of planning, refining and all-out campaigning, this is Election Day for Santa Fe's plan to tax the distribution of sugary drinks at the rate of 2 cents per fluid ounce. The money would be used to subsidize an estimated 966 additional seats in pre-kindergarten programs.
So far, about 15 percent of the city’s 53,057 registered voters have cast a ballot through early or absentee voting. Polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm at eight central voting locations, which means if you can vote, you can vote at any one of them.SFR will be all over the election today, and will update this story with the latest information. Look for a full recap in tomorrow’s print edition.