News

Santa Fe 2023 Election FAQ

Voter information for the City Council and municipal judge contests Nov. 7

Santa Fe voters will fill half the seats on the City Council, choose a municipal judge, weigh a 3% excise tax on the portion of home sales exceeding $1 million and decide on changes to the city charter in November’s election. While the city long held municipal elections in March, Santa Fe has opted in to the state’s calendar for holding elections since 2019, which moves the big day back to Nov. 7.

Which City Council seats are on the ballot?

The city is divided into four council districts and voters in each district elect two councilors in each cycle.

The councilors running for re-election are:

District 2 Councilor Michael Garcia; District 4 Councilor Jamie Cassutt.

The seats occupied by the following councilors are on the ballot but they are not seeking re-election:

District 1 Councilor Renee Villarreal; District 3 Councilor Chris Rivera.

Who else is running?

The following candidates for City Council races formally declared candidacy.

District 1:

In District 2:

In District 3:

Eric Morelli filed as a candidate, but as of Sept. 5 he is no longer running, he tells SFR.

In District 4:


Which candidates qualified for public campaign financing?

On Aug. 5, the city clerk forwarded documents for the following candidates to qualify for public campaign financing. They are subject to final review by the county clerk.

District 1

  • Alma Castro
  • Brian Gutierrez

In District 2:

  • Michael Garcia

In District 3:

Read the city’s “candidate memo” here.

When will campaign finance reports be available?

Candidates must turn in reports to the city clerk on Sept. 8, Oct. 10, Oct. 31, Nov. 6 and Dec. 7.

Which City Council district do I live in?

The city adjusted the lines of council districts last year during redistricting—a once-a-decade process during which districts are redrawn to ensure Santa Fe’s population is distributed equally across each, based on new census data. You can see the new council districts here.

What about the mayor?

Mayor Alan Webber won a second term in 2021. That term does not end until 2025.

How do candidates get on the ballot?

Candidates for City Council must collect petition signatures from a portion of voters in the district where they are running. The exact number of signatures required is based on the number of registered voters in each district. Publicly-financed candidates must collect 150 donations of $5 in addition to signatures.

What else is on the ballot?

MUNICIPAL JUDGE

Municipal Judge Virginia Vigil, who has served in that role since 2016, appeared to not have filed a declaration of candidacy by the filing deadline, leaving an uncontested race for challenger Chad Chittum.

CHARTER AMENDMENTS

Following a special governing body meeting Aug. 22, councilors approved three ballot questions for voters to weigh on Nov. 7.

One measure, if passed, would place a 3% excise tax on the portion of a home sale that exceeds $1 million where the revenue of the fee would go towards funding the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Two other measures originate from last year’s Charter Review Commission: one to lower the number of required signatures for referenda or initiatives from 33.3% to 15%; and another to clarify public involvement and resources for future charter reviews.

The volunteer commission recommended several changes to the charter, including the establishment of an Office of Inspector General and removing the mayor’s power to break a tie on all matters before the council. However, a charter with minimal public input and resources, as well as a delay in preparing legislation for committee introduction resulted in ballot measures that councilors did not consider developed enough to bring to the voters yet.

SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION

All three Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education incumbents in Districts 1, 2 and 4 plan to seek re-election in the Nov. 7 race, and one will face two challengers, following the Aug. 29 candidate filing deadline. The school board’s five volunteer members serve four-year terms, and set the annual school district budget and develop the district’s educational policies.

District 1: Incumbent Carmen Gonzales, whose career as an educator included elementary school classrooms in Albuquerque and college lectures at New Mexico State University, is seeking re-election.

District 2: Sarah Boses, an oncology nurse elected in 2019, will campaign to retain District 2′s seat. Challengers are Patricia Vigil-Stockton, vice president and CFO of Stockton Mechanical, and Cerrillos saddlemaker John T. McKenna.

District 3: Roman “Tiger” Abeyta was appointed to represent District 4 in July 2022 when former board member Rudy Garcia resigned. He’s unopposed in the race.

Here’s a map of the SFPS districts.

SANTA FE COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD

Lorenzo Dominguez and Lina S Germann are both seeking the open Position 2 on the Santa Fe Community College Board. All voters within the Santa Fe Public Schools boundaries may also vote for community college board members.

How can I register to vote?

You can register to vote or check if your registration is up-to-date by visiting nmvote.org.

Same day registration is available at every polling location. Read more about it here.

How many registered voters live in each district?

The Santa Fe County Clerk provided these figures on Oct. 4.

District 1 = 18,640

District 2 = 19,069

District 3 = 10,067

District 4 = 13,343

When and how can I vote?

Early voting at the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office begins Oct. 10 from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday until Nov. 3, with an additional opportunity from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday Nov. 4.

Additional early voting locations will be available starting Saturday, Oct. 21, and every subsequent Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm until Saturday, Nov. 4. Voters can also cast their ballot every Tuesday through Friday between 11 am and 7 pm during this period. A full list of early voting locations can be found here.

The option to request an absentee ballot by mail is also available until Oct. 24. To request a ballot, go to the New Mexico Secretary of State Voter Services website. The county clerk advises ballots need at least seven days to travel to voters and another seven to return to the clerk’s office. The county clerk does not recommend mailing ballots on or after Oct. 31, as ballots must return to the hands of the clerk before 7 pm on Election Night in order to count. Ballots can also be dropped off at secure locations. Click for more information.

How much do candidates know about the city and their districts?

Pop quizzes are a time-honored tradition. SFR quizzes candidates on their knowledge of the city and the districts they hope to represent. Click below to see how candidates did in each district we’ve quizzed so far.

District 4

District 3

District 2

District 1

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at]sfreporter.com. Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.