Advocates were celebrating after Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law on Wednesday a bill that will merge most nonpartisan local elections into one.
“Consolidating nonpartisan local elections reduces confusion and election fatigue for voters and will lead to increased voter participation in local elections,” said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “In addition, fewer elections will help the state, county and municipal governments cut election administration costs and provide more streamlined election services for voters.”
Doña Ana County Clerk Scott Krahling, on Facebook, said the bill signing “is very good news for voters and our efforts to build a voting culture where everyone votes in every election.”
Martinez signed House Bill 98 during the final day she had to act on legislation approved in the recently concluded session.
Under the new law, elections for school districts, community college districts, flood control districts, special zoning districts, soil and water conservation districts, and water and sanitation districts will be merged starting in 2019. In 2022, conservancy districts will be added to the consolidated elections.
New Mexico has more than 100 towns and cities. Those municipalities have the option to join the consolidated elections but will not automatically be added.
Beginning in 2019, consolidated elections will be held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November during odd-numbered years. That’s intended to simplify things for voters who are used to partisan general elections for races like president, governor and county commissioner in November of even-numbered years. The intent is that voters know there’s one big election every November.
Municipalities that don’t join the consolidated elections would have to hold their elections in March of odd-numbered years. Many already do that.
You can learn more about how the new law will affect voters by clicking here.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on NMPolitics.net.