Santa Fe held its last election only last March, but it's hurtling toward another citywide vote soon.
Santa Fe's elections are moving from March of 2020 to Nov. 5 of this year thanks to voter approval of the plan in 2019. The municipal judge and four sitting councilors' seats are on the ballot, one in each district of the city.
Packets for interested candidates will be available on May 6 at the City Clerk's office on the second floor of City Hall, 200 Lincoln Ave.
This will be the second year that Santa Fe will use a ranked choice voting system, where residents cast their votes in order of preference, and the candidate who receives the highest preference the most frequently wins the election.
Councilors Renee Villarreal, Peter Ives, Chris Rivera and Mike Harris will all have to campaign if they want to keep their seats, although it's unclear if any plan to run. Harris, who initially tells SFR he planned to wait to reveal if he would run for re-election until after the city's budget negotiations, says he now plans to announce his intentions Wednesday morning.
"I'm definitely going to do it," says Rivera, who has held the District 3 seat since 2012.
So is Villareal, who tells SFR she's getting her running shoes ready for door knocking.
Municipal Court Judge Virginia Vigil also plans to run.
"I'm full speed ahead," Vigil tells SFR.
Peter Ives did not immediately respond to requests.
Rivera tells SFR the change in dates won't throw him off.
"It's making you work a little bit harder a little bit sooner," Rivera says. "It's actually going to be better, doing most of your work through the summer months and through the fall instead of waiting until the heart of winter to do things. Not too bad."
Any registered voter who lives within the city limits is eligible to run as long as they gather signatures from one half of one percent of the total number of residents within that district. In the 2018 election, those numbers were 86 signatures in the northeastern District 1, 76 in east/southeast District 2, 37 on the southwestern District 3, and 68 in midtown's District 4, according to City Clerk Yolanda Vigil.
The requirements are the same for the Municipal Court judge, but candidates must be members of the New Mexico State Bar and must accrue signatures of one half of one percent of registered voters in Santa Fe. In 2018 there were 53,369 registered voters in the city, meaning 266 signatures were required.
Candidates may also at this time declare their intentions to access public campaign financing, wherein if they accrue 150 separate donations of $5 or more, they're entitled to $15,000 in public campaigning money.
Editor's Note: Comments from Municipal Court Judge Virginia Vigil and Renee Villareal have been added.