Voters to decide on amendments

Tony Parra

Election day is here and the only word people need to hear is education and that may be enough to encourage Roosevelt County residents to vote.
One question is how many people will turnout for the special election. There are 9,632 people who are eligible to vote, according to Roosevelt County Clerk Joyce Lee Fraze.
“I don’t really know how many will come out,” Fraze said. “Thirty-percent would be a great turnout. We hope to have that percent come out and vote, but I’m not really sure how many actually will.”
Fraze noted that the turnout is higher for rural precincts than it has been for city precincts.
“Usually there will be a 50 to 60 percent turnout from rural areas and then here and in town there will be some precincts with 6 to 7 percent,” Fraze said.
Amendment No. 1 would do away with the existing Department of Education and create a cabinet-level public education department consisting of 10 members instead of 15. The Superintendent of the Board of Education postion would be eliminated and instead the governor would appoint a secretary of education.
Amendment No. 2 would provide for a limited additional distribution from the state’s permanent funds to make available more money for public schools to implement and maintain educational reforms.
“We’re hoping enough people were informed on the amendments to go out and vote,” County Commissioner Dennis Lopez said. “There has been so much endorsement for both amendments, I think they’re going to pass because of it. I think they publicized the pros more than the cons.”
There are 19 precincts in Roosevelt County including the absentee precinct. There are 398 absentee votes already tallied for the special election.
“We’ve had more absentee-eligible voters than before,” Fraze said. “I believe it’s because of a lot of publicity about the amendments.”
The timeframe to be able to have their votes in are the same as the timeframe for all other voters. The polls will close at 7 p.m.
The proposed constitutional amendments become effective upon approval by the voters unless an effective date is provided within the text of the proposed amendment. In the case of Amendment No. 1, the existing members would finish out their terms before the new members are elected.
“I think in this area it’s going to be split,” Lopez said about the outcome of the voting. “There are some people that are skeptical and some that are receptive to the idea.”

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. today.
Precinct 1 Portales High School Library
Precinct 2 Steiner School Library
Precinct 3 Causey Community Library
Precinct 4 Dora Fire Station
Precinct 5 Elida Town Hall
Precinct 6 Floyd Community Center
Precinct 7 Jake Lopez Community Center
Precinct 8 Lindsey School Library-A Library
Precinct 9 Greyhound Arena, Room 7
Precinct 10 James School, Auditorium
Precinct 11 Memorial Building
Precinct 12 Portales Public Library
Precinct 13 Brown Early Childhood Center Library
Precinct 14 Wesley Foundation
Precinct 15 Calvary Baptist Church
Precinct 16 Lindsey School-B
Precinct 17 Jake Lopez Community Center-B
Precinct 18 Portales High School-B, Auditorium
AV Precinct County Commissioners’ Room-Courthouse