Motivating many Americans to vote once can be challenging. Today many Clovis residents will be asked to vote twice.
The Clovis Public School special bond election will collide with the nationally publicized presidential caucus election today, leaving some local officials concerned over voter confusion.
“These are two separate things that are going on,” said Coni Jo Lyman, Curry County Chief Deputy Clerk, who has been handling preparations for the school bond election. “There have been several people who have called and requested information about the caucus.”
In previous years, New Mexico has held presidential primary elections in June, but last summer a Democratic Party rule was made to allow for a February caucus. Lyman said a February school election is also unusual.
Anyone residing within the Clovis school district can vote in the bond election. Only registered Democrats are allowed to vote in today’s caucus.
A voter can’t vote for both elections at the same polls. The school bond election will take place at various polling sites while the caucus election will be held at Bruce King Building (west side) for all of Curry County with the exception of Melrose, which will host voters at Melrose City Hall.
Voting times are also different as the caucus vote does not begin until noon. The bond election begins at 7 a.m.
Lyman said she has instructed poll workers to send any confused voters to the proper voting facility.
She expects the simultaneous elections to have a positive impact on voter turnout. The school election, she said, might capitalize on the Democratic caucus’ national exposure.
“People who are out for the school election might think, ‘well I might as well go and do both.’” she said. “We feel very confident that we are ready and we hope it goes well for the voters.”
Clovis schools Superintendent Neil Nuttall said he is concerned voter frustration at the polls could lead to low vote counts.
“We want to send the message that you go to schools to vote for schools and you can go to wherever else to vote for the caucus,” Nuttall said.
If the bond election passes, property taxes will remain steady and the Clovis Public School district will put forth $5 million in funding for various structural improvements. The state will match much of that money. If the bond fails, taxes will be cut about $14 for a $60,000 home, officials have said.