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Santa Fe City Election FAQs

Need-to-know info on registration, voting by mail, district seats and Santa Fe’s weird voting system

When is the election?

Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting runs from Oct. 5 to 30. This is the second city election to be conducted in the fall rather than the spring.

Who wants to be on the ballot?

Each of the city’s four districts has one seat open for reelection, half of each district’s representation. New elected councilors will serve a four year term, with local elections taking place every two years for each district. Candidates collected nominating petitions and submitted them to the County Clerk for approval. The following candidates will appear on the ballot (in this order):

District 1

Joe Hoback - Former credit union president

Roger Carson - Real estate broker

Brian Gutierrez - Local business owner

Signe Lindell - Incumbent

District 2

Carol Romero-Wirth - Incumbent

District 3

Roman “Tiger” Abeyta - Incumbent

Lee Garcia - Local business owner

District 4

Amanda Chavez - Director of special education Santa Fe Public Schools

Rebecca Romero - Management analyst Department of Health

Mayor

Alan Webber - Incumbent

Alexis Martinez Johnson - Former candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District

JoAnne Vigil Coppler - District 4 city councilor

Read more about each of the candidates in SFR’s cover story Long Division.

What else will show up on my ballot?

Several local positions and bonds will be on the ballot for voters within their boundaries, including:

School boards that overlap with Santa Fe County

Santa Fe County Community College board positions

Northern New Mexico Community College board positions

Soil and Water District board members that overlap Santa Fe County

County, city and school district bonds

Town of Edgewood: newly-formed town commissioner positions

Which council district do I live in?

Every eligible voter who lives within the Santa Fe city limits gets to participate in the mayoral race. The city is divided into four council districts, and voters within those districts elect councilors to represent them. To locate your district, use the city’s interactive “Who is my Councilor” map.

How do I register to vote?

Voters can register online between now and Oct. 5.

After Oct. 5, same-day registration opens through Election Day at all voting locations. Early voting extends from Oct. 5 to Oct. 15, during which residents can vote in-person at the Office of the County Clerk (100 Catron St).

Expanded early voting stretches from Oct. 16 to Oct. 30. Voters will be able to register on the same day and vote at several locations.

Can I vote by mail?

Voters can register to vote by mail by emailing their name and address to the Office of the County Clerk at clerk@santafecountynm.gov, though online registration through NMVote.org is strongly encouraged. Voters can request an absentee ballot when the portal opens (usually a month to six weeks before the election begins), which will be mailed out starting on Oct. 5.

Oct. 19 is the last day County Clerk Katharine Clark recommends requesting an absentee ballot, and if voters are mailing back to the clerk’s office, it is recommended ballots be placed in the mail no later than Oct. 26. These dates ensure ballots will have time to reach voters’ homes and the ballot box before polls close on Nov. 2.

The county plans to place several secure ballot boxes where voters can drop off absentee ballots. One box located at the Office of the County Clerk will accept ballots at all hours in the weeks leading up to Election Day. See other available locations here.

How can I be sure my vote will be counted?

To ensure your ballot was received, Clark encourages all voters to list a phone number and an email address clearly on their ballot so the county can alert voters if there is an issue.

If voters are mailing absentee ballots to the clerk’s office or dropping them off at a secure box, it is important that each ballot is placed inside its own envelope. Multiple ballots should not be placed in a single envelope—an effort to minimize the chance that ballots are disqualified.

For those authorized to drop off ballots for another voter (spouses, other family members and caretakers), be sure to completely fill out and sign the declaration form included with the ballot.

How are the campaigns financed?

Candidates can finance their campaigns with private or public dollars. To secure public financing City Council candidates must have secured $5 contributions from 150 constituents in their district and turned in nominating petitions by July 19. For mayoral candidates, that number is 600 contributions. The city clerk will certify whether the candidates qualified.

Four candidates have secured public funding, Gutierrez, Romero-Wirth, Garcia and Chavez. The other candidates will pay for their campaign with private dollars. The first campaign finance reporter, when candidates must disclose who has donated to their cause and what they’ve used the money for, on Sept. 23.

What is ranked-choice voting and why does Santa Fe use it?

The city first used ranked-choice voting in the 2018 election, after state District Court Judge David Thomson ordered Santa Fe to put the new system in place. This came after voters decided to amend the city charter to employ ranked-choice voting a decade earlier.

Under the system, voters rank the candidates in order of their preference. In the first round, every voter’s top choice is tallied and the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated. Those votes for the eliminated individual are then redistributed to the remaining candidates based on those voters’ second choice. The process repeats until one candidate has secured over half the votes.

Clark, the county clerk, says this system benefits voters.

“Everyone gets a say in ranked-choice voting,” even if your first candidate doesn’t make the cut, she tells SFR. While individuals can opt to vote for a single candidate by only ranking their preferred applicant as a first choice, Clark says the system enables voters to have more choice, even if their candidate doesn’t win.

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