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Bernalillo County Clerk requests $1.2 million for runoff election

Bernalillo County vote center sign
Nash Jones
Bernalillo County vote center sign

Early voting in the runoff election for Albuquerque City Council District 6 begins Tuesday, Nov. 21. The city requires runoffs when no candidate secures more than half of votes cast in the race. Bernalillo County has requested over a million dollars to ramp polling places back up.

Deputy County Clerk Michelle Kavanaugh said it’s hard to gauge how much the runoff will cost taxpayers, though it’s likely more than last time.

In 2021, the county held two city council runoffs, but since then Kavanaugh said the state increased poll worker pay and some polling site leases became pricer. She said the Clerk’s Office has requested $1.2 million from the Bernalillo County Commission for the effort.

“It’s a pretty rough kind of estimation of what we think we might need,” she said. “And we imagine that we’re not going to use all of that.”

She said what’s not used will go back to the county general fund and the City of Albuquerque is on the hook to reimburse the county for what they do spend on its city council election.

Besides poll workers and sites, Kavanaugh said the funding goes toward paying Clerk's Office staff overtime as well as equipment and supplies.

The runoff is a significantly scaled-down effort compared to the county-wide election earlier this month, since it’s for just the one district.

Five early voting locations will be available until Dec. 9 ahead of the Dec. 12 election. Voting will pause from Thursday to Sunday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

After only about 19% of Bernalillo County voters turned out for the regular election earlier this month, Kavanaugh said her office is hoping to see stronger participation from District 6 residents this time around.

“These elections are more important than the General Election," she said. "I mean, they are going to hit every single person closer to home, right at their front door.”

The runoff is between Democrats Jeff Hoehn and Nichole Rogers.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is November 28.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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