Clovis’ municipal election is set for March 6, with early voting ongoing.
More than in past years, voter turnout has been a point of emphasis. The turnout determines the number of signatures needed to force special elections on ordinances (twice in 2011) or even attempt to recall a commissioner — once in 1990 and again in 1999, neither successful. A petition to force a referendum or recall a mayor requires signatures from registered voters in excess of 20 percent of the previous municipal election turnout.
In the case of a candidate recall, signatures must come from the district, and exceed 20 percent of that district’s previous municipal election turnout — meaning an unopposed candidate is much more vulnerable later on to a recall election.
Here’s a look at voter turnout since 1996, the first time Clovis voters selected an at-large mayor, with results provided by the city clerk’s office:
Highest turnout: 1996, 37.03 percent. David Lansford was elected as Clovis’ first at-large mayor over four other candidates, including current mayor Gayla Brumfield, who won election in 2008.
Lowest turnout: 2006, 9.01 percent. Three of the five races (Commission Districts 1 and 3 and the municipal judge race) were unopposed, and the two opposed races were comfortable victories. Len Vohs won District 2 with 58 percent of the vote, while Ron Edwards won District 4 with 80 percent of the vote.
Average municipal election turnout: 26.3 percent.
Average turnout during mayoral elections: 31.8 percent.
Average turnout during non-mayoral race elections: 20.2 percent
Districts, ranked by municipal election turnouts:
• District 1: 31.5 percent.
• District 4: 26.9 percent.
• District 2: 19.2 percent.
• District 3: 14.9 percent.
Notes about special elections
• Turnout for the referendum elections was varied, but less than an average off-year election. When voters a .25 percent gross receipts tax increase to help pay for the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water system, turnout was 14.23 percent. When voters rejected the city’s affordable housing plan, turnout was 20.43 percent
• A recall election was forced against District 1 commissioner John Schuller in 1990, but was unsuccessful. Petition organizers felt he was micro-managing city business and turned in signatures in excess of the 405 required signatures for the district. Schuller countered that he was giving necessary attention to details.
It was the second such recall election of a commission. The first one, against Charlie Anderson in 1990, was also unsuccessful.
— Compiled by CNJ Staff Writer Kevin Wilson