Mayor Hull: State election bill takes power from city, voters - Albuquerque Journal

Mayor Hull: State election bill takes power from city, voters

The Rio Rancho Governing Body signed a resolution this week that voiced the city councilors’ opposition to an Election Day-related bill introduced to the Roundhouse.

Mayor Gregg Hull and city councilors voted unanimously during Monday’s special meeting, approving a resolution in opposition to House Bill 174. Councilors Dawnn Robinson, Marlene Feuer and Dave Bency were absent.

The “Local Election Act” is sponsored by Rep. James Smith, R-Sandia Park, and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, and was introduced during the first half of this year’s 60-day legislative session. The bill proposes having a single election day in November on odd-numbered years. Currently, city elections are in October and school elections are in February. If HB 174 passes, both elections would run alongside the state government and national elections.

The Local Election Act was approved by the House of Representatives last month, with 38 votes in favor and 29 votes against the bill. Rio Rancho-area Reps. Jason Harper and Tim Lewis voted against HB 174, while Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, voted in favor.

Hull said although the bill has been presented to representatives as an act that would simplify local and statewide election, the bill would unfairly remove rights and powers that municipalities have.

“This takes away our ability as a community to run our own elections and to set our own rules and to make some of our own decisions and to control our own costs,” he said.

If passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor, elections under HB 174 would be organized and overseen by county governments only. Special elections for cities and municipalities would be relegated to be a mailed-ballot vote, Hull said, with municipalities paying the county for the ballots and the election.

Mailed-ballot special elections could be costly, Hull said. For example, Hull said the most recent special election cost the city between $40,000-$50,000; a special election under HB 174 could potentially double the election’s cost due to mailed-ballots.

Also, Hull said, the bill would eliminate the option for voters to vote for a write-in candidate.

“This really looks like trimming down the field to make it easier for people to control the outcome of elections, in my opinion,” he said.

Councilor Cheryl Everett said she agreed with Hull’s concerns, saying she was taken aback by the bill’s restrictions on municipalities.

“To me, this continues a trend that I’ve seen in the state Legislature, in state government, of increasing the cost and decreasing the revenue for local governments by kicking things down and shuffling things around,” Everett said. “While I don’t normally go around complaining about ‘big government,’ this is an example of the worst stereotypical behavior of a big government.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Reminder: Nominations still being accepted for 10th annual Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nominations are still being accepted for ... Nominations are still being accepted for the Journal's 10th annual Top Workplaces program. &n ...
2
As AI progresses, keep humanity, humility in mind
ABQnews Seeker
When my business partner and I ... When my business partner and I launched our company in the mid-1990s, we debated whether to install ...
3
COVID tests out there ... somewhere
ABQnews Seeker
Testing shortages are unnerving the public Testing shortages are unnerving the public
4
Northern NM still recovering from damaging December storm
From the newspaper
Governor signs order for disaster declaration ... Governor signs order for disaster declaration in Taos County
5
Lobos face surprise of the Mountain West Saturday at ...
College
The ball sails freely in that ... The ball sails freely in that cold, thin air of Laramie, Wyoming.And as the University ...
6
Twins subplot aside, Lobos' Duffs prioritize getting the victory
College
Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the ... Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the fun ...The Duff and Cavinder sisters have und ...
7
Bill would set $15 minimum wage for state employees
ABQnews Seeker
Move could increase pay of 1,200 ... Move could increase pay of 1,200 workers
8
Insurers pushed to settle archdiocese abuse claims
ABQnews Seeker
Nearly 400 victims still in limbo ... Nearly 400 victims still in limbo four years after Santa Fe church filed for bankruptcy
9
Garvey tells Lobos their upward journey can begin here, ...
Baseball
When Steve Garvey first came to ... When Steve Garvey first came to Albuquerque in 1969 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in just his second ...