A sensible approach to nonpartisan elections

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By Merilee Dannemann


The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District held an election a few weeks ago. Though I don’t live, or vote in that district, the election reminded me of the inefficiency (dare I say lunacy?) of the way we hold special district, municipal and school elections in New Mexico. 

The turnout was predictably small. Turnouts for these single-purpose elections typically range from small to pathetic.

A few days later, the point about special elections was illustrated in a very public way by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. United States Sen. Frank Lautenberg died. To fill his seat, Christie scheduled a special primary, followed by a special election. The special election for senator will be in mid-October, three weeks before a general election. The cost to New Jersey taxpayers is estimated at $24 million. The second election could have been combined with that general election and saved the taxpayers half of that money.

How much do New Mexico municipalities, school districts and special purpose districts collectively spend on all the little single-purpose elections they hold?

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