The first ballots in Roswell’s municipal elections can be cast starting this week.
“This is the opportunity for the citizens of our community to voice their opinion,” said City Clerk Sharon Coll. “Please vote.”
Early and absentee voting begins Tuesday and will continue until shortly before election day on March 3.
Coll said the city has signed on numerous election workers this year, including seven people who will staff early voting locations, three absentee board workers and 35 people scheduled to work on election day.
Upcoming candidate forum
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Information about the candidates and issues on the ballot have appeared in prior Roswell Daily Record articles, but people will have another opportunity to learn more about the bond issue and the candidates at a Municipal Election Candidate Forum organized by the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association.
“The majority (of candidates) have confirmed that they will be there,” said committee member Elaine Mayfield. “We will present the bond question, definitely. It is an important issue for our community.”
She said the group, which does not take a position on candidates or issues, has held 35 forums over 24 years that have involved 367 candidates running for 173 different positions.
“It is not a debate,” Mayfield said. “It is a forum. Candidates will be asked questions and they will be given time to respond.”
The forum will occur at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.
Absentee and early voting information
People voting by absentee ballot have until Feb. 29 to turn in their ballots. Absentee applications can be obtained by contacting the city clerk at 575-624-6700, 637-6263 or 637-6202.
Early voting starts this week at City Hall and will include the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place, toward the middle of the month.
No voting will occur at either location on Monday, Feb. 17, which is President’s Day, a federal holiday. First-time voters will need to bring photo identification.
People can vote at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from Feb. 4-7; Feb. 10-14; Feb. 18-21; and Feb. 24-28. On three Saturdays, Feb. 15, Feb. 22 and Feb. 29, they can vote from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At the Chaves County Administrative Center, voting is occurring from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 24-28. On Saturday, Feb. 29, voting will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On the March 3 election day, six voting convenience centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pecos Trails Transit buses will be offering free bus rides to and from a person’s nearest voting location.
The voting locations are the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place; Roswell Museum and Art Center, 1011 N. Richardson Ave.; St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 2911 N. Main St.; West Country Club Church of Christ, 700 W. Country Club Road; Waymaker Church, 202 S. Sunset Ave.; and the Campus Union Building at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, 48 University Blvd.
Registered voters and ballot choices
Right now, 24,595 Roswell residents are registered to vote, according to information from the Chaves County Clerk’s Office.
That consists of 4,180 voters in Ward 1; 6,364 in Ward 2; 5,418 in Ward 3; 4,756 in Ward 4; and 3,877 in Ward 5.
People can register online, by mail, with a third-party registration agent or at the county clerk’s office until 5 p.m. Tuesday. After that, same-day registration can occur only at City Hall, if people present an acceptable form of identification, as defined by state statute.
All registered voters in Roswell can decide about the city’s municipal judge, choosing among three candidates. They are Timothy H. Davidson, Gary Galassini and incumbent Joseph H. Seskey.
All voters also can decide whether they are for or against the $35 million general obligation public safety bond. If approved, the city would be authorized to issue up to $35 million in bonds, to be repaid by property taxes, to purchase land and to “design, construct and equip” a public safety complex.
Depending on which ward a Roswell voter lives in, he or she also might be choosing among candidates for a city councilor. Ward 1 candidates are incumbent Juan Oropesa and Cristina A. Arnold. Ward 2 has three choices, Edward L. Heldenbrand, Jason Perry and Bonnie S. Bitzer. Wards 3 and 4 have only one candidate each, the incumbents, Jeanine Corn Best for Ward 3 and Savino Sanchez Jr. for Ward 4. Ward 5 has two candidates, incumbent Barry Foster and Oswaldo Vazquez Nava.