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Voters Guide: New Mexico takes to the polls for Election Day

Today is Election Day, and for those planning to vote, The Daily Lobo has compiled the latest updates on the major races. In addition, there are briefs of the state and county bond questions, as well as the advisory questions that will be on the ballot.

Governor race

The latest polling numbers compiled by The Albuquerque Journal show Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, with a fairly comfortable 15 percent lead on Democratic challenger Gary King.

Latinos, however, are swaying in King’s favor, giving him a 50 to 42 percent lead in that demographic.

Martinez has said it is important to her that New Mexico expands its economy by looking at business out of state and inviting them in. King, meanwhile, said he would focus on New Mexico’s small businesses for job creation.

Concerning education, King said he opposes standardized testing and advocates putting the responsibility in the teacher’s hands. To the contrary, Martinez said teachers should be kept on a shorter leash and that they should be evaluated frequently.

John Sanchez, the current lieutenant governor, is Martinez’s running mate, while Deb Haaland is the Democratic hopeful.

Federal races

The Senate race is a much closer one, with the latest data by the Journal showing a 7 percentage point advantage for Democratic incumbent Tom Udall over Republican challenger Allen Weh.

According to Weh’s website, he supports less government regulation of businesses, being an entrepreneur himself. In addition, Weh said he advocates exploring New Mexico’s natural resources without burdening taxpayers.

Udall said he’s an advocate for diversifying transportation in the state, especially when it comes to high-speed railways. He also says he supports further securing the border and fairer immigration laws.

For the House of Representatives, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham runs for re-election against Republican Mike Frese in the First Congressional District; Republican incumbent Steve Pearce competes against Roxanne Lara in the Second District, covering southern New Mexico; and Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan runs against Jeff Byrd in northern New Mexico’s Third Congressional District.

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Statewide races

Other races for New Mexico positions include Republican incumbent Dianna Duran against Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver for secretary of state; Democrat Hector Balderas against Republican Susan Riedel for attorney general; Republican Robert Aragon against Democrat Tim Keller for state auditor; Democrat Tim Eichenberg against Republican Rick Lopez for state treasurer; Democrat Ray Powell against Republican Aubrey Dunn for land commissioner.

All 70 state House of Representative positions will be decided, and 34 are contested races.

State and County GO Bond Questions

General obligation bonds are ways for the government to raise money for public works that don’t raise revenue. Most of the raised money would come via taxes. State bonds B and C are especially important to UNM.

State Bond Question A

If passed, $17 million will be spent on improving retirement homes across New Mexico. $742,000 will be allocated to facilities in Albuquerque.

State Bond Question B

If passed, $11 million will be spent on improvements to libraries in the state. $805,662 will go to libraries on UNM’s main campus.

State Bond Question C

If passed, $141 million will be spent on various improvements at colleges throughout the state. UNM in particular would receive $39 million, which would go primarily towards renovating the Farris Engineering Building and the construction of a new health education building.

County Bond Question 1

If passed, $1.8 million will go towards updating library resources in Bernalillo County.

County Bond Question 2

If passed, $5.74 million will be spent on the construction and improvement of general public safety facilities, including a new 7,000 square foot animal shelter.

County Bond Question 3

If passed, $6.46 million will be spent on building new parks and recreation facilities, and improving old ones. The projects include a new otter exhibit at the Albuquerque BioPark, new baseball fields, and renovations to various community centers.

County Bond Question 4

If passed, $9.07 million will be spent on improving roads in Albuquerque. In addition, $500,000 from the bond will go toward the development of a new trail connecting the Bosque and Chris Chavez Trails.

County Bond Question 5

If passed, $4.5 million will be spent on storm drainage and sewage facilities.

Mill Levy Question

If passed, a property tax of 0.2 percent will be put in place to assist the Open Space program. The Open Space program prioritizes saving naturally and culturally significant areas in Albuquerque. The raised money would go toward furthering natural education in the county.

Advisory Question 1

Voters are being asked their opinion on whether or not they support the decriminalization of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana. Currently the penalty for a first offense is a $50 fine and up to two weeks in jail. The advisory question asks for the maximum penalty for possession of an ounce or less to be changed to a $25 ticket.

This is just an advisory question, meaning that voters are simply being asked their opinion. The vote by itself will not have the power to change the law, it will simply tell lawmakers the will of the people.

If a large number of voters are in favor of decriminalization, the Bernalillo County Commission will look into supporting efforts of decriminalization. If a large number vote not in favor, no immediate attention will be placed on the issue.

Advisory Question 2

Voters are being asked their opinion over whether a 1/8 percent sales tax should be put in place to boost efforts to provide more mental and behavioral health services in the area.

Like the first advisory question, voters are not approving or disapproving of any immediate action. The Bernalillo County Commission is getting an idea of whether they should pursue such action or not.

David Lynch is a freelance reporter at The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.

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