May a municipality propose a question on the statewide general election ballot?


No, Questions on a general election ballot are limited to those the law authorizes for submission to voters in a general election under the New Mexico Election Code. A municipality has no legal authority to submit questions to voters of the municipality on a general election ballot. Nevertheless, a municipality may submit a question to voters of the municipality on a municipal election ballot in a municipal election held on the same day as a general election.

(See: Official NM Attorney General IMAGE COPY HERE.)

In 2004 the City of Albuquerque spent $596,000 to put three (3) election items on the Bernallillo County general election ballot for the November 2, 2004, general election.
(See: Verified Petition for Declaratory Relief  Second Judicial District Court – State of New Mexico – County of Bernalillo, filed October 4, 2004.)
(Also See: Memorandum of Understanding (Exhibit A) (3 pages) signed and dated August 31, 2004.)
(Also See: City of Albuquerque Check dated 09/08/2004, for the amount of $300,000; and City of Albuquerque Check dated 02/14/2006, for the amount of $296,000.)
Note: The Memorandum of Understanding specifically required the second payment to be made, “”within thirty (30) days of the November 2, 2004 election.” Payment was not made until February 14, 2006, one year and 2 ½ months after the due date.

The election procedure was said (in the agreement) to be conducted under § NMSA 3-8-9. A. However, the August 16, 2012, NM Attorney General opinion determined that the procedure used did not comport with the NM statute. The lawful procedure is to hold a municipal special election that is concurrent with the general election. Election law requires that the two ballots, and two procedures, are distinct.


Id. Latin, short for idem and eadem, meaning “the same”.  Denotes the previously cited source. Id. is particularly used in legal citations.

NM 2015 Edition Election Handbook:

NMSA Chapter 3 Article 8 – Municipal Elections:

NM Clerks election document:

Dan McKay articles – Albuquerque Journal:

Dan McKay, a journalist for the Albuquerque Journal newspaper, published at least three newspaper articles that misrepresented the election process.

Dan McKay – July 7, 2016 email:
To: Joey Keefe ( Public Information Officer (PIO) Bernalillo County Clerk

Hi Joey,
Supporters of a proposal to require paid sick leave in Albuquerque are nearing their deadline to submit signatures to the city clerk.
If they are successful and collect the required signatures, do you know whether there’s room on the Nov. 8 ballot for the question? Do you know whether the whole ordinance must go on the ballot, or just a summary question?
The supporters want to get it on the ballot this fall, thought it could go instead on the city’s own ballot in 2017.

Wrangling over paid sick leave. Sunday July 10, 2016 (Sunday Journal front page)

Supporters of sick leave initiative claim 24K signatures. Tuesday July 12, 2016 (C1)

July 12, 2016 visit to Albuquerque Publishing Company – 7777 Jefferson Street NE – Albuquerque, NM 87109. 501,944 readers every week. City desk; 505 / 823-3840. Martha Hill – Executive Assistant to the Publisher. Sharon Friedes – Director of Advertising sfriedes@abqpubco.

Dan McKay – July 15, 2016 email:

Hi Mr. Clayton,
I’m not sure I understand what the discrepancy is. Perhaps I’m misreading your objection.
In any case, I didn’t rely on anyone else’s legal interpretation, just my own reading of the City Charter and related legislation. I’ve attached the legislation that addresses the timing of an election, though it looks like you may have already read it.
My story says: … the proposed sick leave ordinance would go to the City Council, which can either approve the measure outright or send it to voters in the next general or municipal election.
That was my attempt to summarize the City Charter section that says that if the council doesn’t approve the measure … an election on the issues must be held at the next general election or regular municipal election.
You can also view Article 3, Section 3 of the charter here, before the recent amendment.
I didn’t intend to make any judgment about whether the council gets to pick the election. I was simply trying to reflect what the charter says, which mentions both possibilities.
Does that clear it up, or do you still think I’ve made a mistake?
People on both side of the issue said they liked the story, and neither raised any questions about accuracy.

City Council Resolution – Monday August 1, 2016 – vote.

City asks county to put sick leave question on ballot. Tuesday August 2, 2016 (C2)

Slow growth in ABQ may squeeze City Hall’s budget. Monday August 8, 2016 (C1)

August 9, 2016 – City Council Resolution No. R-16-82  enactment date (DOCUMENT).