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Voter turnout in mayoral elections highest since 2001

Erica Zucco and David Lynch
November 15, 2017 08:52 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If there’s one definitive outcome from Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election, it’s that Tim Keller, currently the state auditor, is the person the city’s electorate wants to lead them.

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However, if there’s a second thing that was made clear, it’s that voter interest was particularly high, perhaps propelled by Albuquerque’s stature as one of the worst cities in America when it comes to crime. 

That high interest is evident in voter turnout; 96,813 people took to the polls on Tuesday, virtually the same amount as the municipal election in early October, when there was a full field of candidates still in contention. 96,971 turned out in that election.

The last time the city saw that many people vote for a mayor was 2001 – when nearly 99,500 made it to the polls. 2001 was also the last time, according to city clerk data, that there were nearly as many candidates as October’s municipal election, with seven.

Mayoral election turnout
Infogram

Mobile users can click here to see a visual representation of voter trends since 2001. 

There hadn’t been more than four candidates since then.

The difference of fewer than 200 voters in both elections this year shows many in the city have a lot of stakes in who the next mayor would be, even if the candidate they were supporting was eliminated from the race after the Oct. 3 election.

One other factor: This was the first open-seat election in a while, with current Mayor Richard Berry deciding not to run for re-election after eight years.

The numbers from this year are substantially higher than other recent mayoral elections. In 2013, when Berry faced off as the incumbent against Paul Heh and Pete Dinelli, there were 70,361 ballots cast for three candidates – over 25,000 fewer than either election in 2017.

In 2009 there was a slightly higher turnout at 83,213 – a number that still doesn’t quite touch the turnout of either election this fall.

Despite the high numbers this year, the numbers are still comparatively small when stacked up against the city’s population. Fewer than half of registered voters made it to the polls last month and on Tuesday, an outcome which has become typical for local elections.

Credits

Erica Zucco and David Lynch

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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