Just over 20% of registered New Mexico voters turned out for the 2023 local elections, about 5,000 more people than participated in the 2021 local elections.
County clerks say in general though, voter turnout for local elections has increased. They cited a law passed in 2019 to consolidate school board and municipal elections into a single Election Day in November as the primary driver of the boost.
This year, many counties saw better turnout, including Doña Ana County, which rose from 11% turnout in the 2021 to 18% this election with 22,458 people casting a ballot.
“Frankly, 18% is not necessarily anything we should be satisfied with. However, I am pleased that there was more turnout than in 2021,” said Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda López Askin.
She said the county did more outreach by sending a notification to all registered voters to remind them of the election in the county.
“One of the largest barriers is that people think that the election doesn’t involve them if they don’t live in city limits,” she said. “Our biggest challenge is educating voters that every November — like clockwork — there is an election in their community.”
Other significant jumps included Colfax County, which had 42% turnout, with 3,224 voters casting a ballot – more than double the participation in 2021.
A school bond question galvanized voters, said Colfax County Clerk Rayetta Trujillo.
“It was great to see the numbers as high as they were, because to me, every election is important, not just the primary or the general, but anytime you have an opportunity to vote,” Trujillo said.
Bernalillo County, however, had fewer participants and registered voters than the 2021 election. Only 82,455 voters, about 21% of registered voters, cast a ballot this year.
The local elections two years ago included the Albuquerque mayoral race, which is often a bigger draw for voters, said Nathan Jaramillo, the elections administrator at the county.
“It’s just simply the fact that there was not a large, contentious race in Bernalillo County this year,” he said.
Bernalillo County is scheduled to certify 2023 results today, and will be gearing up for a runoff election for the City Council District 6 seat between Nichole Rogers and Jeff Hoehn.
- Election Day for the runoff will be Tuesday, Dec. 12.
- Early voting will start Tuesday, Nov. 21, but all polling sites will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23, and Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
This story was originally published by Source New Mexico.