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Voters to weigh in on mayor today

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Voters who head to the polls today will decide whether Albuquerque is in for six more weeks of campaigning.

Mayor Richard Berry and his two challengers, Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh, are on the ballot, but the campaign won’t be over unless one of them gets 50 percent of the vote. If none of them does, the top two will advance to a runoff election tentatively scheduled for Nov. 19.

Also up for consideration today are six City Council seats and 10 bonds questions totaling $115 million. Council candidates also must get at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Voters can head to Isotopes Park, the city Museum of Art and History or any of the other 48 polling locations today to cast their ballots.

About 26 percent of the city’s voters turned out in the last mayoral election four years ago.

“I am hopeful that Albuquerque voters will turn out in record numbers to cast their ballots in this election,” City Clerk Amy Bailey said Monday. “We more than doubled the number of early voters from the 2009 election this year, which leads us to believe that the overall turnout will also be strong.”

Any voter can go to any location to cast a ballot today, similar to the system for early voting. No one is tied to just one particular polling location.

Here are a few other reminders:

• A photo ID is required to vote in city elections.

• Voters who haven’t already mailed in their absentee ballots can return them to the City Clerk’s Office or city Records Center, 604 Menaul NW. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to Election Day voting centers.

• Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

n A list of the 50 voting centers is available at ABQjournal.com/elections and printed in today’s Journal on Page C2.

n Profiles of the mayoral candidates and their responses to questionnaires are available at ABQjournal.com/elections .

• Sample ballots, voting locations and other election tips are available at cabq.gov by clicking on the “vote” link.

City elections are nonpartisan, so there won’t be party labels by candidates’ names on the ballot. Nevertheless, party affiliation is often a factor in city politics.

Berry is Albuquerque’s first Republican mayor in more than 20 years. Dinelli is a Democrat, Heh a Republican.

Today’s election also will determine whether Republicans keep their 6-3 edge on the council.

In one highly contested race, two incumbents are facing each other because of the way district boundaries were redrawn after the Census.

In that race, Isaac Benton and Roxanna Meyers are competing to represent District 2, which covers Downtown, Barelas, the North Valley and part of the university area.

Benton is a Democrat, Meyers a Republican.

Approval of the bonds won’t result in a tax increase, city officials say. The money would be used for street repairs, libraries and similar capital projects.

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