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Sandoval County primary election 2020: County clerk (Democrats)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — New Mexico’s primary election is Tuesday, June 2.

The Observer asked candidates for Sandoval County offices and New Mexico Legislature seats representing Sandoval County to complete questionnaires explaining their priorities, qualifications and views on topics in the public eye.

Candidates were held to a 450-word limit. If responses surpassed that limit, the answers were cut from the bottom until they were 450 words long. Otherwise, responses were not edited.

Lawrence D. Griego is the only Republican running for Sandoval County Clerk. He did not return a questionnaire.

 

Anne S. Brady-Romero

(No photo submitted.)

Residence: Algodones

Past and present occupation(s): Sandoval County Chief Deputy Clerk | 2014-Current, Worked in the Sandoval County Clerk’s office since 2010 and have been a small business owner. I have over 35 years of public and private sector management experience.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No DWI or felony charges.

If elected, what will your top priorities be?

• Ensure ADA compliance at all voting locations

• Increase voting locations

• Provide mobile voting unit

• Increase voter participation

• Implement an outreach election awareness program

• Create a Native American voting advisory committee

• Ensure your vote is secure by working with the NM Secretary of State office’s cyber security team to perform an annual risk assessment

• Complete the implementation of online records with Tyler Eagle Recorder

Why should you be elected to this position? I am currently serving as your Sandoval County Chief Deputy Clerk. I was appointed in 2013 by the Clerk and have been working for the Clerk’s Office since 2009. I have over 35 years of public and private sector management experience.

What is your plan for maintaining integrity of elections? I will work with the NM Secretary of State’s Cyber Security office to perform annual risk assessments and work with the County’s IT department to ensure we adhere to best IT practices.

What is your plan for making elections accessible to all voters? I will ensure all voting sites are ADA compliant and increase the number of Voting Convenience Centers (VCCs) throughout the County. In addition I will add a line item for a mobile voting unit in my budget. This mobile voting unit will travel all over the county to senior centers, nursing homes, sporting events, and other high traffic areas to ensure all voters have an opportunity to vote. Our team will ensure we apply COVID19 safe practices to ensure voter and employee safety.

 

Bob Perls 

Bob Perls

Residence: Corrales

Past and present occupation(s): Founder and President of Monitech, Inc., a medical IT company; 2-term State Representative for Southern Sandoval County; Foreign Service Officer, Department of State; Founder and board member, NM Open Elections

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No

If elected, what will your top priorities be? 1) Upholding election integrity: enough voting machines, no random voter roll purges, and reduce Election Day wait times for all communities equally. 2) Promoting voter outreach: Educate future voters, promote upcoming elections and help drive turnout among the youth and tribal communities. 3) Ensuring election security: My extensive technology and cyber security background will help me modernize the Clerk’s office to protect election results from hacking.

Why should you be elected to this position? I have a unique background and skill set that will allow me to run our elections efficiently and securely in times of a pandemic. Five years ago, I founded a non-profit focused on election reforms that would increase voter turnout, called New Mexico Open Elections, and I have become expert on the election code. Altogether, I have spent 10 years working on cybersecurity and election reform issues. I have been trained by the U.S. Department of State in crisis management and I have an M.S. in Healthcare administration with extensive public health experience, both helpful in times of pandemic. The NM Clerk’s Association is influential in the legislature so I would hope to provide leadership within this association to help pass legislation that increases the vote while ensuring security. There are six or so important statutory changes needed to implement a secure vote-at-home system.

What is your plan for maintaining integrity of elections? I have no tolerance for voter fraud or hacking of elections. 1) Security must be job one. Photo I.D.s can be easily falsified, so we need to move to a 21st century solution like automatic signature recognition to help secure in-person and absentee ballot voting. A signature is hard to fake and software is good at helping election workers determine fakes. 2) Set a culture of non-partisanship in the office to ensure fairness to all. 3) Train Clerk personnel on countering cyber threats most of which occur due to employee mistakes. The U.S. State Department provided me extensive cyber security training when I served our country abroad, especially at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan – a high threat post.

What is your plan for making elections accessible to all voters? In this time of the COVID virus, we need a secure vote-at-home system combined with safe Election Day polling locations staffed by experts. A vote-at-home system requires a fully vetted voter database, digital signatures, signature recognition software, tracking of ballots (like a FedEx package) so that voters can see where their ballots are all the time, and secure drop boxes in many locations so that voters have options where to return ballots in addition to dropping it in the mail.

 

Ignacio Pedro “Pete” Salazar 

Ignacio Pedro “Pete” Salazar

Residence: Pete is a life-long resident of Bernalillo and Placitas and graduated from Bernalillo High School in 1969.

Past and Present Occupation: Pete Salazar served as President and CEO of New Mexico SER for over thirty years. In that capacity he administered seven different programs from at-risk youth to senior programs and supervised over 350 employees. Mr. Salazar is no stranger to elected offices. He served two terms as Sandoval County Commissioner and six years as a member of the Bernalillo School Board. He also has a well-rounded education with a M.A. degree in Guidance and Counseling from the UNM, a B.A. degree in Education from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and an Associate of Arts degree from Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa. He is a proud graduate of Bernalillo High School. Ignacio Pedro “Pete” Salazar is currently semi-retired

Have you ever been convicted of felony or a DWI charge? Ignacio has a clean criminal record except for a DWI conviction in 1982

If elected what will your top priorities be? “When elected I will work toward recruiting individuals who want to make a difference now. I will work with other New Mexico County Clerks to address term limits for all elected officials; eliminating Social Security taxes for the elderly, improving health care access, and tackling immigration issues.

Why should you be elected to this position? To enhance the people’s active voice in their government. I was taught at an earlier age that government should be of the people, for the people and by the people! Today, what often exists are elected officials who constantly hold out their hands for their own gratification

What is your plan for maintaining the integrity of elections? To enhance access to voting, by taking a proactive stance against voter suppression, especially now with mail-in ballots in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. We need a program of ongoing voter education and people need to be comfortable with voting processes so they can take a more active interest in the election process.

What is your plan for making accessible to all voters? I will also work diligently with the New Mexico Association of County Clerks to lobby the New Mexico Legislature for legislation toward further enhancing voter participation in all elections, including a mail-in ballot system

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