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Dexter council decides on municipal elections

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The Dexter Town Council has voted to hold municipal elections in November on odd-numbered years, as Lake Arthur and Hagerman recently decided. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The Dexter Town Council has decided to hold its municipal elections on odd-numbered years during “regular local election” day.

The council held a public hearing Tuesday night before a council vote, but no one spoke at the hearing, according to Mayor Mitch Daubert, who characterized the matter as routine and not controversial. The council then voted 3-0 in favor of the proposal to hold municipal elections on Regular Local Election Day, which will occur in November on odd-numbered years.

Dexter joins Lake Arthur and Hagerman, also small towns, in making the decision, which means that the Chaves County Clerk’s office will conduct elections, with the municipal governments contributing to an election fund.

Dexter Town Clerk Ruby Parks previously said that historically only about 25 people vote for town elections, although the county shows about 559 registered voters. Holding town elections on the regular election day will save Dexter money, Parks said.

Municipalities were given the choice by the Local Election Act, passed during the 2018 session of the New Mexico Legislature and going into effect in July. It gave municipalities the option of participating in local election day, when school districts, special hospital and zoning districts, soil and water conservancy districts and other non-partisan elections are required to be held.

In the alternative, municipalities can choose to hold their elections on Municipal Elections Day, to occur in March on even-numbered years. Municipalities making that choice must pay for their own elections. The city of Roswell, with about 48,000 residents, has chosen that option, according to Cindy Fuller, Chaves County Bureau of Elections chief.