Almost seven thousand Rio Ranchoans voted over the last few weeks for a mayor, judge and city councilors, but two of the races now need a runoff and voters will have to return to the polls in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the incumbent District 3 city councilor, Tamara Gutierrez, has asked for a recount after results showed she narrowly lost to Cheryl Everett. The recount is set for 10 a.m. Thursday.
In the mayoral and District 5 council races, which both featured four candidates, no one received more than 50 percent of the votes. When that occurs, city rules require a runoff between the two candidates in each race who received the most votes.
In the first round of the mayoral race, Gregg Hull received 44 percent of the votes cast and Mike Williams captured 30 percent. They are now trying to persuade people who voted for Morgan Braden and Jim Owen to vote for them.
The Rio Rancho Governing Board will decide Wednesday whether the runoff election should be held April 15, which is tax day and about five weeks away. Williams and Hull both want the city council to pick a different date.
In the District 5 race, 33 percent of the votes went to Shelby Smith and Thomas Buckner got 26 percent. The two candidates will advance to a runoff, leaving behind Paul Howell, who came in fourth place, and incumbent Tim Crum. Crum finished with six votes fewer than Buckner.
Gutierrez on Wednesday asked the city clerk for a recount. She received more votes than Everett on Election Day and through absentee ballots. Everett had banked more early votes and won the election by 11 votes, unofficial results showed.
Dawnn Robinson won a majority in the District 2 race. She will be officially sworn in Monday evening at City Hall, along with G. Robert Cook as municipal judge and Everett as District 3 city councilor.
Robinson and Cook both won a majority of the votes in their races, defeating two opponents each and avoiding a runoff.
The undervote, or ballots missing votes, in the election was quite small. Half a percent of voters did not select a candidate for mayor. Almost eight percent of the voters did not vote for a judicial candidate.
Voter turnout was 12 percent. The turnout in surrounding communities for their recent mayoral elections was 30 percent in Corrales and 20 percent in Albuquerque, according to the clerk’s offices in those municipalities.
Election Day voter turnout varied by polling location: slightly less than 800 at Mountain View Middle School, a little over 800 at City Hall, almost 1,350 at Soul Rio Community Church and just over 1,800 at Meadowlark Senior Center.
Voters from Districts 4 turned out at the highest rate, even though their city councilor won’t be up for election until 2016. District 3 had two polling locations, with the other two in Districts 1 and 5.
Early voting was available only at City Hall in District 3. Evening and weekend hours were not offered.
The runoff election resolution before the city council Wednesday evening would direct the city clerk to use the same hours and locations for absentee, early and Election Day voting.