With mail balloting already underway, New Mexico's primary election is just around the corner on June 2. As always, SFR tested the candidates' knowledge of the seat they're running for and the constituents they hope to represent with a pop quiz.

This year the position for Santa Fe County Clerk is up for grabs as current clerk Geraldine Salazar finishes out her second term and is prevented from seeking a third by law. Five Democratic candidates are vying for the position, however Letitia Montoya and Bryan P. Flores did not respond to our request for participation. With no one from another party on the ballot, the winner of this race will likely take the job. Read on for the question and answer key with each candidate's responses below.

Questions:

  1. How old does a person have to be to legally get married in the county?
  2. For which election in Santa Fe County was there recently a recount, and why? Under what other circumstances could there be a recount in an election?
  3. Can members of the military stationed abroad vote in primary elections, and, if yes, what do they have to do to get a ballot?
  4. What percent of voters in Santa Fe County are registered Libertarians.
  5. Name three types of documents the clerk is responsible for recording.

Answers

(All according to the Santa Fe County Website and email communications with the current County Clerk Geraldine Salazar):

  1. An individual must be 18 to legally get married without parental consent. Those 16 and 17 years old marry with written permission of both the parents named on their birth certificate, or with a death certificate if one or both parents are deceased. Children under the age of 16 must obtain a District Court order in addition to parental consent to get married.
  2. There is currently a recount for the Moriarty-Edgewood School District School Board Member District 2. This is an automatic recount because the margin of votes between the two top candidates was less than 1%. Other reasons for a recount: If a candidate believes there has been an error or fraud committed in counting ballots or verifying votes, they have the right to call a recount. Unless the recount changes the outcome of the election, the applicant has to pay the costs of doing the recount.
  3. Voters whose residence is in Santa Fe County and who are registered with one of the three major parties qualify to vote in primary elections. That includes members of the military stationed abroad and residents who live/work overseas. To keep their voter registration up to date, military voters must complete a new Federal Post Card Application each election year or every time they move. Military voters must fill out an FPCA to request a ballot.
  4. 1%.
  5. All official acts of the Board of County Commissioners, homeowners association documents, deeds, plats, mortgages, deeds of trust, judgements, satisfactions of judgement, liens, wills, death certificates, and marriage licenses.

Katharine Clark

Katharine Clark is a political and marketing consultant. She has previously been the elected vice chair of the Young Democrats and also the secretary of the statewide Democratic Party, but this is her first run for public office in the county.

  1. You have to be 18 and both parties have to be present. If you are 16 ,you can get married but you have to have both parents permission. If you don’t, if one parent is deceased, you have to have proof of their death—you have to have a death certificate. So essentially you have to have in some way both parents consenting if you have two parents listed on your birth certificate and you have to bring your birth certificate in.
  2. A recent, ah, how recent is recent? Last 10 years? Last 5 years? Last 5 years. Santa Fe County. I’m trying to think what election that was…. Santa Fe County recount… well, I don’t remember the specific election, but I do know that we do recount in New Mexico if elections are within a certain percentage point in closeness there’s an automatic re-canvass. But I can’t remember the exact details of what election that was.
  3. They can vote in primary elections, and they have to apply for an absentee ballot. If they are abroad their ballot can be mailed before May 5. So normally if you reside in the county, or in the United States essentially, your absentee ballot can’t be mailed until May 5. If you are abroad you can apply for an absentee ballot and that can be mailed preceding May 5.
  4. Statewide it’s about.. I wanna say 3% of voters. But it’s a little lower in Santa Fe County, so I’m going to say between 1 and 2%.
  5. Plats, deeds, liens. Haha there’s more, but I’ll stick with those.

Sarah M Guzman

This is Guzman's first run for public office. She's the owner of a local business that makes handcrafted children's toys called the Pink Giraffe of Santa Fe.

  1. I believe it’s 16 with… no, 18. I’m just gonna say 18. But I believe it used to be 16 with permission of the parents.
  2. I’m trying to think it was under Secretary [of State Diana] Duran, I remember reading about this in the paper, and I think the reason for the recount was, I think it was a close race and they wanted to verify the outcome. At any point I believe there can be a recount when it’s within a margin of 1%.
  3. Absolutely. They need to request their ballot. There is just the normal process for requesting their absentee ballot or there is a special phone number that they can call with the secretary of state to make sure that they can receive their absentee ballot because they would be voting that way.
  4. I’m going to say under 10%.
  5. Marriage licenses, the plats for land, and then so anytime you purchase your home so that deed for your home is also housed at the county clerk’s office… I’m trying to remember the name of that document, I’m drawing a blank… we recently purchased our home in 2016 so I’m trying to think what it was called… yeah no. I’m just gonna say when you purchase property in the county it gets recorded in the county clerk’s office.

Richard A Padilla

Padilla retired in January after working in the Santa Fe County Clerk's Office for 17 years. This is his first run for an elected position.

  1. Legally they have to be 21. Now I believe they can be at 17 but they have to have a parents signature.
  2. We had a recount I believe in 2019 which was a school district election, and I believe for every primary and general election, we always have also have a recount and that is chosen by precincts by the secretary of state, and you will have recounts as elections go on. And I didn’t catch the second part of the question… okay under certain circumstances if somebody in a close race where candidates get real close votes you know maybe if they’re off by two or something, you can have a recount then also. Then the candidate, they would ask for the recount on that.
  3. If they’re overseas military, then yeah they can apply as long as they’re a registered voter they can apply for a ballot and a ballot would be sent to them overseas.
  4. I don’t have an answer for that.;
  5. Recording would be deeds, you also have, you can record a death certificate there and apply for one and also they keep records of all marriage licenses.