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Rio Arriba measure on Sunday booze sales officially fails

SANTA FE – No, you still can’t be served an alcoholic drink in unincorporated parts of Rio Arriba County on Sundays.

In the Nov. 5 election, a ballot mix-up allowed about 1,000 people living within the municipal boundaries of Chama and EspaƱola to vote on whether to allow Sunday sales of booze by the drink in county territory. After the improper votes were thrown out, the outcome didn’t change.

“It still failed,” said Michele Jordan, the Rio Arriba Bureau of Elections chief, said late Thursday afternoon, shortly after the county commission certified the vote with adjusted totals during a special meeting.

Initially, unofficial totals from the Secretary of State’s website indicated that the Sunday sales question was defeated by 94 votes. But the outcome became cloudy when it came to light that voters in Chama and EspaƱola had the question appear on their ballots. Only voters from outside of the two municipalities were supposed to decide.

When the improper votes were removed, the margin of defeat was cut to a 44 vote margin. The now-official totals show that 2,167 people voted no on the question, while 2,123 voted to approve.

Jordan said that it took a court order by a district court judge on Thursday to allow for the adjusted totals to be submitted to the county commission for canvassing later in the day.

“This was a very good learning experience,” said Jordan. “We’re all happy to have learned the process and now it will make it easier next time we have this kind of situation.”

The Rio Arriba ban on Sunday sales of liquor by the drink mainly affects a couple of restaurants in the Abiquiu area.

Jordan’s work on this month’s election isn’t done, though. Two school board elections were decided by less than 1% of the vote, triggering automatic recounts.

In a five-way race for the Dulce Independent School District position 1 seat, Diane F. Vigil edged Jennifer Muskrat-Velarde won by just one vote, 59-58.

The race for the position 2 school board seat in the Chama Valley Independent School District was decided by four votes, with Donald A. Valdez getting 338 votes to 334 votes for Darren Daniel Deyapp.

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