Low-turnout election cost $500,000

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — There's no denying that Tuesday’s school board and bond election was important, but turnout was so low each of the nearly 18,000 votes cost taxpayers about $30.

Still, the decisions were huge for this week’s school board election in the Albuquerque Public Schools District, which covers nearly all of Bernalillo County and a piece of Sandoval County. Voters had to decide if money should be spent on aging schools and who should sit on the school board for the state's largest district.

County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said a little more than 3 percent of all registered voters bothered to cast a ballot.

“It’s an expensive election, yes,” Toulouse Oliver said.

Especially when, the general election was just four months ago and a municipal election is coming in October.

The question many are asking: Why not combine school board elections with others where turnout is much higher?

The county clerk said she can’t because language in the state's constitution doesn't allow it...

“In 1912 when our constitution was created in the state women didn't have the right to vote," she said.  "However, the founders of the New Mexico Constitution determined that it would be good to allow women to participate in school board elections because they were in charge of the children."

Now, for the second time, county clerks are calling on state lawmakers to change that outdated language.

APS Board Member Kathy Korte said the cost-saving benefits and possibly getting more voter turnout are a plus, but she's heard of some cons.

“More often than not the school board election might be at the bottom of a ballot, and you get ballot fatigue," she said.  "Is the voter going to go all the way down that ballot?"

Korte said another concern is issues like school board races and school construction could get lost in a bigger election that deals with higher-profile political races and better-publicized projects.

Copyright 2014 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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New Mexico (change)

 
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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